(PresidentialHill.com)- Former President Donald Trump returned to the nation’s capital this week for the first time since he left the White House in January of 2021.
He gave a keynote address at the America First Agenda Summit hosted by the America First Policy Institute. Many of his allies had hoped that Trump would use the platform as a launch-off point for a potential 2024 presidential run, telling those in attendance all he planned to do for America if he were to be elected to return to the White House.
As New Gingrich, a former speaker of the House who is close to Trump, said:
“It’s an opportunity for President Trump to come to Washington and give a visionary speech about why the future would be better with his leadership — and to the degree he focused on that it could be a very important speech.”
Many of even his closest allies are saying that it’s time for Trump to keep the past in the past — and focus on the future possibilities rather than continue to harp on the 2020 presidential election. They say it’s even more important now, considering all the damage that’s been done to his reputation as part of the House panel’s public hearings regarding its investigation into the events of January 6, 2021.
According to The Washington Post, Trump’s speech focused on encouraging “tough,” “nasty” and “mean” responses to the violent crime that’s raging throughout the country. He even suggested relocating homeless people to tent cities that would be constructed in the suburbs.
Many of the Republican Party’s big wigs attended the event. In addition to Gingrich, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy attended, as did Senator Rick Scott from Florida and Bobby Jindal, the former governor of Louisiana.
There were also nine former members of Trump’s Cabinet and nine former high-ranking officials within his White House. Those people included Brooke Rollins, the president of the AFPI, and Larry Kudlow, a former economic adviser for the Trump administration.
As Gingrich explained:
“This is in a sense an administration in exile.”
According to Kudlow, the AFPI has no plans to formally back any of the presidential candidates for the 2024 race, even as the group is most often aligned with Trump. In addition, Kudlow said many of the leaders in the group still are in contact with Trump, though he isn’t directly involved in anything they do.
“We’re developing and expanding ideas and issues that we know work. It’s all about issues and ideas and trying to get our country back on track.”
In addition to AFPI’s efforts, the Conservative Partnership Institute is working to vet potential appointees the next Republican president might make should the GOP retake the White House. That group is led by Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
Meadows said recently that the group is trying to gather a team that would be “sufficiently loyal” to both Trump and his overall agenda, in preparation for a 2024 run.