Appearing on a piece of Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ turf, former President Donald Trump boasted his landmark 2016 presidential election victory as having started an historic turn of the Republican Party in the U.S.
“Republicans were on the verge of losing this nation forever,” Trump told the Lee County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in Fort Myers, Florida, on Friday night, saying the political establishment in 2016 claimed Trump had “no path to victory in the Electoral College; we were given no shot.”
“Our party was looking at eight long years of Crooked Hillary Clinton in the White House.”
Trump hailed his unwinding decades of Democrat rule in the Blue Wall states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. He also boasted making a former presidential campaign bellwether of Ohio a “deep red” state, along with Florida.
It is a message DeSantis has used amid his own 2024 presidential aspirations, saying he took Florida from a battleground state to huge GOP margins for future elections.
But Trump once again took credit where the Florida governor has, saying that without his endorsement of DeSantis in 2018 and 2022, “somewhere we’d have a lawyer looking for work.”
That was a new swipe at his potential 2024 GOP primary rival DeSantis, in the governor’s own backyard of Florida, no less.
“We’re going to become the 47th president of the United States,” Trump told the Lee County GOP crowd, with DeSantis not in attendance. “We’re going to all become, because I am doing this for you. I am here for you.”
Trump issued another epic rebuke of what he calls “RINOs” (Republicans in name only) in the speech, saying he has turned the tables on them as he had Democrats.
“I think they’re a shrinking breed,” Trump said of RINOs. “We’ve got to get them [the] hell out.”
Among the RINOs denounced by Trump are former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his former Attorney General William Barr.
“What’s wrong with being impeached?” Trump famously repeated, rebuking Barr’s lack of courage in supporting his 2020 presidential election challenge. “I got impeached twice, and my numbers went up.
“We need people with courage,” Trump concluded of the GOP. “We don’t need bull**** artists. That’s what we had.”
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