Trump's 90-minute address to the conservative America First Policy Institute echoed many of the themes of his victorious 2016 campaign, including illegal immigration and crime.
Donald Trump has returned to Washington for the first time since leaving the White House 18 months ago, delivering a fiery speech sprinkled with strong hints he may run for president again in 2024.
Trump repeated his claims on Tuesday that he won the 2020 election and denounced the House committee investigation into the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters as the work of "political hacks and thugs."
"If I renounced my beliefs, if I agreed to stay silent, if I stayed at home and just took it easy, the persecution of Donald Trump would stop immediately," he said. "But that’s not what I will do. ... I have to save our country."
The 76-year-old Trump stopped short of declaring his candidacy, but laid out what he believed should be the priorities for the "next Republican president."
"I always say I ran the first time and I won, then I ran a second time and I did much better," Trump said. "We may just have to do it again. We have to straighten out our country.
"I look forward to laying out many more details in the weeks and months to come."
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'Cesspool of crime'
Trump lashed out repeatedly at Democratic President Joe Biden, blaming him for the country's ills.
"We are a nation in decline," he said. "We are a failing nation."
"Inflation is the highest in 49 years," Trump said "Gas prices have reached the highest in the history of our country."
He accused Biden of allowing an "invasion" by millions of migrants crossing the southern border.
Trump said the United States "is now a cesspool of crime."
"We have blood, death and suffering on a scale once unthinkable," he said. "Democrat-run cities are setting all-time murder records."
He accused Biden of having "surrendered in Afghanistan," and allowing Russia to attack Ukraine.
Since taking his last Air Force One flight from Washington to Florida on January 20 last year, Trump has remained the country's most polarizing figure, continuing his unprecedented campaign to sow doubts about his 2020 election loss to Biden.
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