Trump asserts his dominance over GOP in CPAC speech as he rails against enemies and calls 2024 ‘final battle’

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Former president Donald Trump delivered the closing speech of the 2023 Conservative Political Action Conference as he targeted his enemies not just in the Democratic Party and the media but also the Republican Party.

The former president spoke before a crowd at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md. on the third full day of the gathering of right-wing elected officials and activists.

"This is the final battle," Trump told the crowd at CPAC. "This is it."

And if he loses 2024 race, "we no longer have a country." Throughout the address he also called out Republican establishment figures like former speaker Paul Ryan, who led the House of Representatives for the first two years of his presidency, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he has frequently criticised for not helping him overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

“The Republican Party was ruled by freaks, neocons, open border zealots and fools,” he said. “We're never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove, and Jeb Bush.”

His speech came shortly after the conference revealed that 62 per cent of attendees preferred him for president. His closest potential challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, earned only 20 per cent of the support. The governor chose not to attend the conference after he hosted the last two annual conferences in Florida.

Mr Trump also used the venue to criticise President Joe Biden and lay out his new initiatives, pledging he would stop “World War III” while criticising aid to Ukraine and Nato.