Former President Donald Trump delivered his first speech in Washington, D.C., since departing office as he called the United States a “cesspool of crime” and called for strict criminal justice policies. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
July 26 (UPI) — Former President Donald Trump described the United States as a “cesspool of crime” and called for strict and aggressive criminal justice policies in his first speech in Washington, D.C., since leaving office.
Trump, speaking at the America First Policy Institute’s two-day summit in the nation’s capital, echoed his 2017 inauguration speech as he painted a bleak picture of the United States as a nation plagued by crime and violence.
“Our country is now a cesspool of crime,” Trump said. “We have blood, death, and suffering on a scale once unthinkable because of the Democrat Party’s effort to destroy and dismantle law enforcement all throughout America.”
Taking aim at Democrats, Trump said that U.S. cities shouldn’t strip police “of their liability shield in any way shape or form” and instead should “return to stop-and-frisk policies.”
“Give our police back their authority, resources and prestige,” he said.
At one point, Trump mentioned that Chinese President Xi Jinping told him about “quick trials” for drug criminals that saw people sentenced in about “2 hours,” adding the United States should implement a “very strong death penalty for the people who sell drugs.”
“It sounds horrible, doesn’t it?” Trump said of China’s drug crime trials. “But those are the ones that don’t have any problem. It doesn’t take 15 years in court. It goes quickly.”
Trump said that the next president must “go beyond the governor” and deploy the National Guard “to the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago until safety can be restored.”
“When governors refuse to protect their people, we need to bring in what is necessary anyway,” he said.
The former president made no mention of the riots on Jan. 6, 2021, that saw his supporters storm the Capitol building in an effort to block Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.
He did, however, refer to the House select committee investigating the riots as the “unselect committee of political hacks and thugs.” Most recently the panel held a hearing on Trump’s inaction during the 187 minutes between finishing his speech on the Ellipse that day and telling the rioters to go home.
Trump specifically named the committee’s two Republican members Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who on Sunday said Trump “is unfit for further office,” as he said the panel “really wants to damage me so I can no longer go back to work.”
During Tuesday’s speech, Trump also tied his unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 elections were subject to widespread fraud to his criminal justice agenda. He said “the radical left’s anti-police narrative is a total lie.”
“Let’s call it the big lie,” he said, referencing the phrase that Democrats have often used to describe his election claims. “Have you ever heard that expression before? The big lie.”
Trump did not explicitly address his plans to run again in 2024 but did hint at such ambitions as he continued to claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“I won a second time, did much better a second time. Did a lot better. Did a lot better. Very corrupt. I always said I ran the first time and I won. And then I ran a second time, and I did much better,” he said. “What a disgrace it was. But we may just have to do it again. We have to straighten out our country.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who drew Trump’s ire by refusing to carry out his plot to overturn the election results, was also in Washington, D.C., Tuesday speaking at the Young America’s Foundation.
Pence offered a more optimistic vision called the “freedom agenda” that he hopes will serve as a “beacon to help Americans navigate through these rough waters.”
He also made indirect allusions to Trump’s focus on the 2020 election as he called for unity among the GOP.
“Conservatism is bigger than any one moment, any one election or any one person,” he said. “We always right the ship when our leaders veer off course.”
Both men, however, were bullish on Republicans’ chances to make gains in the upcoming midterm elections.
“Frankly, 2022 may be the best chance we will ever have to build a lasting majority to invigorate the conservative movement to fulfill conservatism’s purpose and to save our nation from left wing tyranny socialism and decline,” he said.
Trump also said the GOP has an “incredible opportunity” in the 2022 elections.
“I am here before you to begin to talk about what we must do to achieve that future when we win a triumphant victory in 2022 and when a Republican president takes back the White House in 2024, which I strongly believe will happen,” he said.