Donald Trump on Tuesday returned to Washington DC for the first time since leaving office, over a year and a half after the January 6, 2021 attack on Capitol Hill currently under investigation by a congressional committee.
Speaking at an event organized by the America First Policy Institute, a think tank he helped fund, the former president delivered a speech riddled with inaccuracies and falsehoods in which he exaggerated the achievements of his administration, presented himself as a victim of the system, and focused on public safety, law enforcement and protection of the border with Mexico.
“Our country is going to hell, and it’s going to hell very fast,” he asserted, painting an apocalyptic landscape of crime-ridden cities controlled by Democrats that have become “war zones.” Trump described green areas taken over by homeless encampments, stores where criminals steal merchandise with complete impunity, and “sadists who prey on children and are released on bail.”
Trump, who is flirting with a new presidential run in 2024, promised to impose the death penalty for drug traffickers if he returns to power. “America first must mean safety first,” he said, supporting being “tough, nasty, mean if we have to, to restore public safety.” He also supported a return to “stop and frisk” policies and attacked the “ridiculous” idea of defunding the police.
Trump referred to “the anti-police narrative of the radical left” as “the big lie,” in a sarcastic reference to the way the media refers to the conspiracy theory he still espouses, according to which the 2020 election was stolen from him. “Have you ever heard that expression before?”
It was the first time in 566 days that Trump was seen in a public act in DC. The last time had been January 6, 2021, when he harangued thousands of his followers to march on Capitol Hill in a bid to influence the certification of the electoral votes that gave the presidential victory to Joe Biden. The insurrection that followed, which endangered the lives of hundreds of police officers, is the target of a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, as well as a probe by a congressional committee that last Thursday provided evidence that during the three hours that the assault lasted, Trump sat back and did nothing to stop the violent mob, even though he was “the only person on the planet capable of sending them home.”