Trump returns to DC for the first time since leaving office to deliver a speech at a political summit

Trump’s return to Washington comes amid the congressional investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection sparked by his denial of the 2020 election results, and as the former president teases a third White House race in 2024.

Trump is scheduled to speak Tuesday afternoon at the Marriott Marquis, where he will deliver the keynote address at a summit hosted by a nonprofit that could effectively become the engine of another presidential campaign and platform. Trump’s policy.

“He’s still the leader of the America First movement,” Marc Lotter, communications director for the America First Policy Institute, told CNN over the weekend.

“He’s the biggest name. He’s the visionary behind a lot of the policies that got him elected to the White House,” Lotter said. “And when you look at what’s happening in America right now, so many people are crying out for that kind of political leadership. They want cheap gas, rising wages, booming stock markets and not what we have right now.”

Trump’s speech is expected to focus on “law and order,” according to Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich.

“President Trump sees a nation in decline that is partly driven by rising crime and communities becoming less safe under Democratic policies,” Budowich said. “His remarks will highlight the political failures of Democrats, while laying out an America-first vision for public safety that will surely be a defining issue midterm and beyond.”

Trump allies tell CNN they hope the former president uses the speech to look ahead and focus on setting a Republican agenda before the midterms. While Trump has publicly teased a 2024 bid, aides and advisers have encouraged him to move on from the 2020 election and focus on policy they believe could put him back in power, such as the economy. , school programs and crime.

So far, Trump has yet to change course, instead using speeches to claim the 2020 election was rigged, criticizing Republicans he sees as disloyal, and attacking the select committee investigating Jan. 6. A source close to Trump expressed frustration that the former president seemed unable to stop obsessing over the past, fearing it could hurt his chances in a 2024 presidential campaign.

Trump’s trip to DC also underscores his dramatic rift with former Vice President Mike Pence, whom Trump has publicly accused of refusing to attempt to overturn voters’ wills by rejecting electoral votes from key states.

Pence pushed back, saying earlier this year that “Trump is wrong” in saying he could overturn the results. In recent speeches, he urged Republicans to drop their 2020 grievances and offer a forward-looking platform. Pence was scheduled to speak Monday at the Heritage Foundation in DC, but that speech was postponed after his flight was diverted due to weather conditions.

Trump has used his recent speeches to continue airing those grievances in 2020. His campaign trail appearances ahead of November’s midterm elections have focused on endorsements from candidates who embraced his electoral denial and campaigned to overturn the 2020 results and make it more difficult to vote for the next election.

His Tuesday speech at the America First Policy Institute summit will follow appearances from a host of Trump’s Republican allies, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, as well as some of Trump’s former White House and campaign aides, including Kellyanne Conway.

“To give voice to this agenda, to present it for the midterms of Congress and beyond, I believe there is no one better than the former president to be able to do that,” said Lotter on CNN Sunday.

“What happens next is entirely up to the voters, the president, and whoever else might get in the running,” he said. “But the only thing we know is the policies that worked. And so what we’re focused on is preparing that ground, establishing that policy framework, to get back to those winning policies. And President Trump is still one of the leaders, if not the biggest name, in this movement.”

CNN’s Kristen Holmes contributed to this report.

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