ORLANDO, Fla. – Former U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out at Canada’s treatment of people involved in what came to be known as the trucker Freedom Convoy 2022.
The remarks came in his Saturday night keynote speech to thousands of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in this city.
“The tyranny in Canada in recent weeks should shock and dismay people all over the world,” said Trump, who delivered a wide-ranging speech to a boisterous and supportive audience.
“They have been slandered as Nazis, racists and terrorists,” he said.
“They have been arrested and charged with phoney crimes. They have been falsely accused of loyalty to foreign powers.”
Trump said it was obvious to him they were true patriots who had a clear right to peaceful protest but are still being persecuted.
“They are being hunted down like enemies of their own government, treated worse than drug dealers and murderers or rapists.
“A line has been crossed. You are either with the peaceful truckers or with the left-wing fascists.”
The crowd roared its approval when he said: “We stand with the truckers and the Canadian people in their noble quest to claim their freedom.”
Many in the adoring audience were decked out in red, white and blue clothing and several wore hats proclaiming sentiments such as “Trump Was Right,” “Make America Great Again,” and “Trump 2024.”
As is typical in a Trump speech, he covered a variety of topics and frequently ad-libbed during the one-and-a-half-hour talk.
He lambasted President Joe Biden for everything from the flood of illegal immigration at the southern border, to the botched American withdrawal from Afghanistan, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian invasion, he said, “is an outrage, and it should never have been allowed to occur. We are praying for the proud people of Ukraine.” He lauded Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as “a brave man.”
Biden’s approach to the crisis is “weak and grossly incompetent,” spat Trump.
Trump has been criticized in the media for having said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “smart.” The former commander in chief stood by that characterization, saying NATO “is looking the opposite of smart. The problem is not that Putin is smart … but the real problem is our leaders are dumb.”
The crowd often erupted in applause or chanted “U.S.A.” and gave boisterous approval when the plain-talking ex-president said it’s time to lift all COVID measures.
Trump said all Americans have to work to see Democrats defeated during mid-term elections this year and in the 2024 presidential election.
“We’re going to kick the Biden crime family out of the White House,” he said. “We will make America great again.”
He said “the sleeping giant” of conservatism in the U.S. has awoken, and Republican voters will stand up against “wokism” and “left-wing fascists.”
Despite speculation Trump might announce his own intentions about 2024, he did not.
CPAC ended Sunday. It is billed as the largest annual gathering of influential conservatives in the world. This year the theme was “Awake, Not Woke.”
Kerry Diotte is a Conservative activist who was a member of Parliament from 2015 to 2021 in the riding of Edmonton Griesbach. He’s a former city councillor and long-time journalist. For interview requests, click here.
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