In a powerful and wide-ranging speech Saturday night to the nation's conservatives, former President Donald Trump said the country's future was at stake in November if Republicans didn't make a clear case to overturn the Democrats' disastrous agenda.
Trump told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) convention in Dallas that Republican candidates must make nothing less than a "clear pledge" to take control of Congress and mount a "national referendum" on the Democrats' failing fight against rising crime.
"We have to win an Earth-shattering victory in 2022," Trump said. "Winning this election needs to be a national referendum on the horrendous catastrophes radical Democrats have inflicted on our country."
Republicans need to campaign on a "clear pledge" that they can "shut down the border, stop the crime, the inflation, and hold the Biden administration accountable."
"Job number one," he added, will be for Congress to "restore public safety."
"People are walking outside and getting shot in the head," said Trump. "Because of the radical left's merciless crusade to dismantle law enforcement in America, our country is now a cesspool of crime that it has never been before.
"Everybody is talking about it, other countries are talking about it. You had seven people killed in Chicago this weekend. You had 68 people shot. That is not democracy, that is not what we stand for."
Trump once again teased a potential run for the White House in 2024 but said the priority is to regain control of Congress in this fall's elections.
"I ran twice... and I did much better the second time, getting millions more votes than I did in 2016 and likely getting more votes than any sitting president in the history of our country by far, and now we may have to do it again," Trump said, leading to huge cheers from the large conservative audience.
He also spoke out against cashless bail, as "savage criminals are being released" to "continue their violent rampages against the United States of America," as "the streets of our Democrat-run cities are drenched with the blood of innocent victims."
But to make America great again, "we have to make America safe again first," said Trump. "It is time for leaders who have the courage to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done."
The Republicans who are seeking office in 2022 "are not going to play games," he added.
"They want to bring our country back," said Trump.
Congress should also spur the "largest increase in hiring of police officers in American history," said Trump, adding that the police must be left alone to do their jobs.
"They know what to do and we have to allow them to do it," said Trump. "We need to return to the tried-and-true strategy of a thing called stop-and-frisk. We have to take the guns away from criminals. Instead of taking guns away from law-abiding Americans, let's take them away from the violent felons and career criminals for a change."
The former president also repeated his call for the "death penalty for drug dealers," pointing out that the countries around the world that put drug dealers to death do not have the overdose and crime problems of the United States.
"When I was in China, and until the plague came in, I had a very good relationship with President Xi [Jinping]," said Trump. "I said, 'Do you have a drug problem?' And he looked at me like 'what kind of a stupid question is that?'"
And, Trump said, drawing applause, Xi told him that in China there are quick trials and those who are guilty are immediately executed.
"It sounds horrible, but every drug dealer on average will kill 500 people," said Trump. "Some people think it is much higher than that, so you would stop it. I believe if you instituted the death penalty for drug dealers, drug traffickers, I believe drug dealing would go down 50 percent on day one, 50 percent. I think it goes down the day you institute it."
But the problem is worse than ever, said Trump, because the border is too open, and "criminals are emptying their jails into our country."
"Last year, we lost 250,000 people to drugs," he said. "There is no war. These are numbers that are bigger than war numbers: 250,000. They say it is 100,000. I say it is much more. It is probably more than 250,000, but you have also destroyed millions and millions because of drugs."
Trump further discussed sending in National Guard troops to places where there are high crime rates, "very much like on January 6, where I offered Nancy Pelosi and the mayor of D.C.. from 10,000 to 20,000 troops because I thought the crowd was going to be very large coming in."
The former president also spoke out against the homeless encampments in the nation's cities.
"The only way you will remove the homeless encampments and reclaim our downtowns is to open up large parcels, large tracts of relatively inexpensive land on the outskirts of the various cities and bring in medical professionals, psychiatrists, psychologists, and drug rehab specialists and create tent cities," said Trump. "You can do that later, but you have to get the people.We have to reclaim our cities, and now you will have people that will be taken care of."
The United States must also stop the invasion at the southern border, said Trump.
"Our country is being invaded just like a military force was pouring in… We fight and spend billions and billions and even trillions of dollars defending the borders of countries that are 7,000 miles away, but they do not want to spend any money to defend our border," he said.
The United States also needs to increase the numbers of new ICE and Border Patrol officers, "to resume the enforcement of our immigration laws and to deport the illegal aliens Joe Biden is refusing to deport," said Trump. "They will not even take out illegal aliens out of our country."
Trump also drew cheers when he called on Congress to pass a law that will allow a sitting president to remove bureaucrats who are "doing a bad job," as "we have got to run this country properly because it is time to clean house in Washington, D.C."
Trump's speech also touched on education, with Trump saying that "we have to finally and completely smash the radical left's corrupt education establishment … We need to defend parents' rights."
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