Some “conservative” diehards are hailing Donald Trump’s CPAC speech as a pivotal event, signaling his return to glory, which they can vicariously enjoy. In truth, it more resembled the sad spectacle of lounge singer who’d once ruled the airwaves and concert halls with big hits and big crowds, lazily going through his standards before a modest crowd that longed for the glory years as much as he did.
Trump’s timing was off right from the start. He came onstage before his entrance song had even begun. Like a washed up singer, he began with an old hit, about some dangerous guys down by the border. As Trump surveyed the modest crowd, he wistfully recalled how he’d recently drawn “huge crowds” for his 52 rallies, never pausing to reflect that this was a terrible idea during a pandemic.
Trump got a burst of applause when he teased he might run for President again and assured the CPAC crowd they were part of a big movement, “the likes of which has never been seen.”
Apparently against his aides’ advice, Trump reprised the Big Lie, falsely proclaiming that the election was rigged, and he’d really won. And he lashed out at perceived enemies who’d turned on him, neglecting to mention they did so because he’d launched an insurrection against Congress to prevent it from certifying electoral votes that showed he’d lost. He said he’d work to banish these officials from the public arena, oblivious to the fact that he did so in front of CPAC’s “America Uncancelled” sign.
Finally, he put together a string of crowd-pleaser retreads of his hate-filled policies that brought the crowd to its feet – whether out of real enthusiasm or nostalgia, it’s difficult to say. And then it was over, and he left the stage. If only for good.