Georgia, USA (CNN) — Former US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will not withdraw from the 2024 presidential race if he is charged in any of the federal and state investigations he faces.
“I wouldn’t even consider leaving,” Trump told reporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, where attendees named him their favorite candidate shortly before he took the stage.
Trump faces a number of investigations, including several criminal investigations. Prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, were investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 Georgia elections, while the US Department of Justice is investigating the attack on the US Capitol building on January 6, 2021, in addition to Trump’s handling of classified materials after He left office.
Trump remains defiant in the face of the ongoing investigations, saying Saturday: “They have used justice as a weapon in our country.”
Trump refused to commit to supporting the 2024 Republican nominee if he wasn’t that nominee, and he also said he hadn’t decided whether to sign the Pledge of Allegiance that Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel requires 2024 GOP candidates to participate in the debates.
Trump added, “There might be people I wouldn’t be too happy endorsing, so we’ll see. I think some of them – I wouldn’t use names, I don’t want to offend anyone – but some of them, I wouldn’t be too happy with.”
During his speech Saturday, Trump asserted that we as Republicans must “change our thinking” about early voting and voting by mail after the GOP’s losses in 2020 and 2022 — a dramatic change after years of lies that these forms of voting are riddled with fraud.
Trump said Republicans should try to “beat the Democrats at their own game,” adding: “This means flooding the left with mail-in voting, early voting and voting on Election Day.”
What Trump didn’t mention: Republicans have long had the upper hand at these tactics. But he spent years trying to convince conservatives that early and mail voting could not be trusted, giving Democrats an enormous advantage that was evident in President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020 and in Republicans’ underwhelming performance in last year’s midterm elections.
Trump added, “We have to change the way we think, because some bad things have happened.”
“We will never go back to a party that wants to give unlimited money to fight endless foreign wars,” Trump said.
He emphasized that Biden is leading the nation into “oblivion” and that other Republicans will not be able to correct the course, explaining: “I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent World War III.”
Trump is popular at the annual conservative caucus, where he was the first choice of 62% of attendees who were asked who they would prefer as a Republican in 2024. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who did not attend this year’s event, finished second with 20% support.
Trump vowed to purge the government of “political strains entrenched in both parties,” and said: “In 2016, I declared I was your voice. And today I add: (I am your warrior).”
Addressing those who have been wronged and betrayed, Trump said, “We will not let this happen. I will completely obliterate the Deep State. I will unelect the unelected bureaucrats and shadow forces who have armed our justice system like never before. I will put the people back in charge of this country again.”
Trump’s remarks targeting transgender people seemed to spark the most applause on Saturday. He said he would sign a measure that would “ban the sexual mutilation of children in all 50 states, and would keep men out of women’s sports”.
Trump claimed that, as he saw it, the country would be “lost forever” if he did not win in 2024. He added: “This is the final battle – they know it, I know it, you know, everyone knows it. Either they win or we win. I promise you.” With this: (If you take me back to the White House, their rule will end, and America will be a free country again).”