Donald Trump Makes Triumphant Return to Political Stage at CPAC

Former President Donald Trump made a triumphant return to the political stage on March 4th, 2023, when he addressed the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in National Harbor, Maryland.[0] During his speech, Trump declared himself the “retribution” of those who have been wronged and betrayed. He said he was the “warrior” and the “justice” for those individuals, and warned the crowd that “this is the final battle” and that “either they win or we win.”[1]

Trump won the CPAC straw poll, with 62 percent of conference attendees surveyed saying they wanted him to be the 2024 GOP nominee, followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at 20 percent.[2] A Yahoo News/YouGov poll, conducted among 444 registered voters from February 23 to 27, also found Trump leading all of his potential opponents, with DeSantis coming closest to beating him in a head-to-head match-up by eight points.[3]

In his address, Trump attacked the “establishment” of both Democrats and Republicans and accused prosecutors of seeking to derail his presidential bid. He also falsely claimed that the Obama administration had only supplied Ukraine with “blankets,” when it had actually committed more than $600 million in security assistance to the country.[4]

Trump also promised to end the “disastrous war between Russia and Ukraine” before arriving in the Oval Office and said that doing so would “probably enhance my numbers” in the polls.[3] He then sent a warning to the party that he has shaped in his own image in an effort to crush dissent, saying “we are never going back to the party of Paul Ryan, Karl Rove and Jeb Bush.”[5]

Trump’s return to the political scene came as he is facing multiple criminal investigations and the possibility of indictments. He made it clear that he would stay in the 2024 race even if prosecutors in Atlanta and/or Washington, D.C., bring charges against him.[6]

The former president’s speech represented a fundamental repudiation of the Republican Party of the past, with doses of both populism and paleo conservatism.[5] It remains to be seen if Trump’s message will be enough to secure him the GOP nomination in 2024 and win back the White House.

0. “Trump Ability to Draw Large Crowd in Doubt After ‘Half-Full’ CPAC: Christie” Newsweek, 5 Mar. 2023,

1. “Trump frames 2024 as existential fight: ‘This is the final battle’” The Hill, 5 Mar. 2023,

2. “Trump at CPAC Pitches Sending Military to Cities ‘Until Law and Order Is Restored'” Yahoo News, 5 Mar. 2023,

3. “2024 race: Donald Trump said he’ll pursue presidency even if indicted” USA TODAY, 5 Mar. 2023,

4. “Fact check: Trump delivers wildly dishonest speech at CPAC” CNN, 5 Mar. 2023,

5. “Donald Trump’s war against the Republican Party’s past”, 5 Mar. 2023,

6. “Donald Trump vows ‘retribution’ and will stay in 2024 race if he faces criminal charges” The Independent, 5 Mar. 2023,

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