At his first rally since leaving the White House, former President Donald Trump on Saturday (June 26) lambasted the Biden administration’s immigration policies and sought to energize Republicans to take back majorities in Congress next year.
Appearing to relish being back in front of thousands of supporters, Trump repeated his false claim that his defeat in the November 2020 election was marred by fraud.
Trump left office in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, shortly after a speech in which he urged a crowd to “fight” when then President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was about to be certified by lawmakers.
Trump survived a second impeachment on a charge linked to the violence and has kept broad influence over the Republican Party, in part by leaving open the question of whether he will run for office again in 2024.
He dangled that possibility on Saturday to the crowd.
“We won the election twice and it’s possible we’ll have to win it a third time. It’s possible,” he said.
Trump won the 2016 election against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He lost in 2020.
The former president highlighted parts of his regular grievance list at the rally, with particular focus on the rising number of immigrants crossing over the U.S. southern border, an issue Republicans have zeroed in on to rally their voters.
Biden’s White House has called Trump’s immigration policies inhumane.
While Trump has made speeches at Republican events since his defeat, the rally in Ohio, a state he won in 2020, marked a return to the freewheeling mass gatherings that have been critical to retaining the support of his enthusiastic base.
The Ohio event in Wellington, about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Cleveland, was the first of three expected public appearances, followed by a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with Texas Governor Greg Abbott on June 30 and a rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3.
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck & Njuwa Maina)