Former President Donald Trump returned to the spotlight over the weekend after being relatively silent since leaving office. In a speech at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., he set the record straight that he has no plans to start a third party.
"They kept saying he's going to start a brand new party," said Trump. "We have the Republican Party. It's going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party."
He also urged the GOP to make election security a top priority and floated the possibility of running again in 2024.
"Who knows? Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time," continued Trump.
Trump focused much of his speech on criticizing the first few weeks of President Biden's administration, particularly his immigration policies.
"Biden has failed at his number one duty as chief executive, enforcing America's laws," declared Trump. "This alone should be reason enough for Democrats to suffer withering losses in the midterms and to lose the White House decisively four years from now."
Trump also praised his America First agenda and said Republicans must make election security a priority.
"We must pass comprehensive election reforms and we must do it now," said Trump. "The Democrats used the China virus as an excuse to change all of the election rules without the approval of their state legislatures, making it therefore illegal."
Noticeably absent from CPAC this year was former Vice President Mike Pence. Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union which hosts CPAC, told CBN News that Pence was invited but declined to attend.
"Mike Pence, who's a very prayerful man, believes that this is a time to stay a little more quiet. A little more out of view, not because he's done anything wrong, but because he's a little bit retooling," Schlapp said. "And he's thinking about how he re-emerges on the stage. He's absolutely going to be in the fight."
Schlapp also addressed rumors Trump and Pence ended their administration on bad terms.
"He talks to the president. All the myths about how they left not talking to each other is wrong," claimed Schlapp. "We're all in this together. Our coalition is strong, and I believe we're poised to pick up the seats we need in the House and the Senate to win majorities."
"And I just have a feeling as Americans see all this socialism, the attack on gender, the attack on everything we tried to get done under four years of President Trump, they're going to be open to put another Republican in the White House and his last name just might be Trump," Schlapp continued.
Schlapp also spoke to CBN News about divisions within the GOP.
"The only war going on in the GOP is against the establishment, moderate Republicans who never liked Trump," Schlapp said. "As he lost this perch as the president, they thought it was an opportunity to really push him out of the arena. And the president's not going anywhere."
"And I think as far as whether or not he leads the party, just look at polls, he's the sentimental favorite of not only CPAC attendees but Republicans generally," Schlapp continued. "But it's up to the president as to whether he really wants to undertake this arduous task of running for president again."