Former President Donald Trump on Saturday pushed Republicans to support candidates who are loyal to him in next year’s midterm elections as the former president launched a new more active phase of his post presidency at the Greenville convention center in North Carolina.
Trump announced his endorsement of loyalist Rep. Ted Budd in the crowded Republican primary.
TONIGHT Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd for US Senate 2022 pic.twitter.com/BRlt9MmSij
— Melina Wisecup (@melina_wisecup) June 6, 2021
The endorsement came shortly after Trump daughter-in-law and North Carolina native Lara Trump was invited to the stage briefly to announce that she would not run for the Senate because of family obligations.
“I am saying no for now, not no forever,” Lara Trump said.
Trump also gave mention to former Gov. Pat McCrory in his speech, who he said he would not support. McCrory has been critical of Trump’s seeking thorough audits for the 2020 election.
“You can’t pick people who have already lost two races and do not stand for our values,” Trump told a large audience gathered for his speech, which spanned more than an hour and 20 minutes.
Over a thousand Republican officials and supporters gathered for the North Carolina GOP convention, the opening appearance for Trump in what is expected to be a new phase of rallies and public events. Tens of thousands more followed along on internet streams.
Out of office for more than four months and banned by the big social media platforms, the former president hopes to use such events to continue the “Make America Great Again” movement he started while in office.
His advisers are already eyeing subsequent appearances in Ohio, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia to help bolster midterm candidates and energize voters.
Trump focused his early remarks on President Joe Biden, which he called “the most radical left-wing administration in history.”
The energetic 74-year-old teased the prospect of another presidential bid of his own in 2024 but vowed first to be an active presence on the campaign trail for his allies in next year’s fight for control of Congress.
“The survival of America depends on our ability to elect Republicans at every level starting with the midterms next year,” Trump said.
Trump remains a dominant force with the Republican party and will be throwing his support behind his preferred candidates as the GOP fights for control of Congress in 2022.
Trump’s claims about election fraud have triggered a wave of Republican-backed voter integrity bills in state legislatures across the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.