By Rebecca Downs

On Saturday, former President Donald Trump spoke at the “Save America Rally” in Wellington, Ohio. This specific rally was in support of Max Miller, whom Trump has endorsed in his primary challenge against Rep. Anthony Gonzalez. The Republican congressman who has represented Ohio’s 16th district since 2019, voted to impeach Trump in his second impeachment trial.

The former president we know so well was there to remind the crowd of the already obvious stark contrast between his administration and the Biden administration, particularly when it comes to “our poor borders.” 

While Trump inevitably did dedicate a significant portion of his speech to the 2020 election, he also did remind the crowd of the importance of the 2022 mid-term elections. In fact, the Saturday night rally is regarded as “the very first rally of the 2022 election.”

Some Republicans, including Trump’s own allies such as Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), would prefer a focus on 2022 and 2024, rather than on 2020. Trump, however, is determined to focus on the past as well as the future, because he sees them as connected. “The biggest tragedy of all,” Trump would go on to lament, “is millions of Americans have lost confidence in their vote,” something he vowed “we cannot let… happen.” 

In addressing those who tell him not to look back, Trump insisted “you have to look back. We won the election in 2020. Who knows what is going to be in 2024? We are not going to have a country left. And if we don’t figure it out, we are not going to be in a position to win in 2022 or 2024.”

The crowd was reminded of the importance of taking back the House, and the Senate, and that “with your help we are going to defeat the radical Democrats” because “we have no choice… we have no choice,” Trump emphasized. 

Trump indeed did make reference to the name of the rally tour too, that Republicans winning in 2022 and 2024 is how “to save America.”

Inevitably, Trump mocked the media’s poor ratings, but he did so in context, to remind the crowd of a message to send to the media, and others who have been so hard on him and his supporters. It’s a message, Trump said, that “together, we will send Biden and the media and all of the people who are bad to our country, big tech tyrants, a message they cannot censor, cancel, or ignore.”

Much of the speech was similar to Trump’s previous speeches since leaving office. While the former president may rant and rave against the current one, he has his reasons.

“Upon taking office,” Trump noted, “Joe Biden deliberately and systematically through his people, because I do not think that he did it, dismantled America’s border defenses and incited illegal migrants like this country has never seen. They violated our laws from every single corner of the globe.” 

He went on to note that “Joe Biden is doing the exact opposite of what we did,” arguing the current president’s “policy is to make illegal immigration as easy as possible.”

To really drive the point home of how bad Trump finds the border crisis to be, he claimed  that “Biden has violated his constitutional oath, endangered our safety, and, look, he surrendered our really, if you think of it, no matter how you cover it, sovereignty. What he’s done to our country has been unthinkable,” the former president said. “And I said that was going to happen. I said it was going to happen,” Trump reminded, which led him to launch into reminding the crowd about the need for “a Republican congress to shut down the lawless agenda.” The crowd went on to chant “four more years.”

And, it’s not only on the issue of illegal immigration where Trump had warnings for the crowds about how Biden and the Democrats “are doing everything to put your family in grave danger” and “a very bad position.”

In addition to “releasing criminal aliens,” it’s also “defunding the police” and “abolishing cash bail,” with the former president using “what has happened to our poor New York,” as an example. 

And, considering he was at the rally in support of Max Miller as the primary opponent of Anthony Gonzalez, Trump also drew a distinction between the candidates.

Max Miller is part of what the former president called “an amazing slate of crowd America first Republicans next year.”

Trump used every name in the book you could think of with Rep. Gonzalez, as “bad news,” “grandstanding,” and a “RINO.” When it comes to RINOs, Trump would later go on to warn that they are worse than Democrats. With Gonzalez, Trump was not too fond of how he went from hearing about the congressman as someone who was eager to travel with him as president back to Ohio on Air Force One, to someone voting to impeach him. 

It wasn’t merely Trump who was angry at such a move of voting to impeach, but the Ohio GOP, which, as Trump pointed out, called on Rep. Gonzalez to resign. The congressman remains in office.

In contrast, though to Rep. Gonzalez as “a fake Republican and disgrace to your state” of Ohio, is Max Miller, described by Trump as “an incredible patriot” who is not a carpetbagger. In typical Trump fashion, the former president noted that he liked the work Miller did in the White House as an aide to him, specifically on foreign policy issues, in comparison to “some real losers” who worked in the White House.

The memorable lines and jokes were not just about Rep. Gonzalez, either. When it comes to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), at what Trump called “the semi-state of the union” and said “was sort a weird state of the union,” she had on what Trump said was “the single largest mask I have ever seen on a human being,” to the point where he didn’t even know how many masks she was wearing. 

Trump also repeated his call from his speech earlier this month at the NC GOP convention, that China ought to owe trillions and trillions of dollars because of their unleashing of the Wuhan coronavirus on the country. It was one more thing, Trump reminded the crowd, he was right about, specifically with regards to how the Wuhan virus leaked from the Wuhan lab. 

He had recently released a list of the things he had been right about, which he reiterated at the rally, but which don’t matter because “the election is over so they don’t care.” 

In being right about such things, Trump felt all the more vindicated in his belief that he won the 2020 election. He discussed other “hoaxes” and “crimes” in Democratic policies and ideas, but ultimately, the 2020 election is “the crime of the century” in Trump’s mind.

What’s particularly unfair as Trump sees it, and how he thinks 2020 came to be, is the contrast of treatment of sore losers such as Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams, who did similarly claim to have on their races, and himself. “The truth is,” Trump offered, “we got them by surprise in 2016,” and so “in 2020, they planned for four years. They said this is not going to happen again.”

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That expected moment of the rally, that there would be chants of “lock her up” was present, as was Trump opining that, “by the way, she is the single most unhappy person in the United States,” about Hillary Clinton.

Trump, who has weighed in recently to criticize the military’s fixation was critical race theory, did not mince words there either in his speech, as he called the generals “woke,” which they are. “The military brass have become weak and ineffective leaders and our enemies are watching and laughing,” Trump warned.

It’s not merely the military which CRT is affecting, though, but impressionable children at school, who are “taught to hate our country.” Trump reiterated that it is on a basis of “racism,” and used it as an opportunity to call for school choice, as well as for CRT to be banned.

One could surely point to CRT as how “the radical left is trying to rip our country apart” and that “there are no depths to which they will not sink,” but it’s also, above all, about “the election that we talk abut so proudly because we did so well,” as Trump put it.

Trump’s claims about the 2020 election have been referred to as “the big lie,” but the former president insisted that it was not disproven, but rather that “it is totally disproven in the other way,” to support his own claims. 

Particular areas of scrutiny included Mark Zuckerberg’s influence, the mass mailings of absentee ballots and applications, and concerns with vote observers. When speaking about the 96 percent Joe Biden got in certain counties which came in as late as they did, Trump equated it to “a North Korea style turnout.”

It is because of concerns with the 2020 election, with the border crisis, the money spent on an obsession and “fabricated witch-hunt about Russia,” that Trump emphasized his warnings of how “you don’t have a country.”

Trump did end his speech like he did the speech at the NC GOP convention, like he does most of them, as a campaign speech, but still a hopeful one. To his credit, he did have something worth bragging about, though, in that in 2020 he became the first Republican to win Lorain County, Ohio, since President Ronald Reagan. 

But, perhaps the most obvious connection too a campaign speech, is that Trump is once more closing by reminding crowds that “we will make America great again,” a phrase and a movement which is sure to invigorate many.

Trump’s speech on Saturday was similar in some ways to a speech he gave earlier this month at the NC GOP convention. You can read my equally as thorough write-up of that speech here.

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