- Trump spoke at CPAC on Sunday in his first major speech since leaving the White House.
- The former president hinted at a 2024 run and railed against President Joe Biden.
- We fact-checked his false statements, including his claim that he won the election.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Former President Donald Trump spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, his first speech since leaving the White House.
Trump hinted at a 2024 run, said he would not form a new party, and targeted Republicans who had supported his impeachment. He criticized Democrats, cancel culture, and big tech – and especially President Joe Biden.
He also made several statements that were false or misleading. We’ve fact-checked them here.
“As you know, they just lost the White House,” Trump said about Democrats. “Who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”
Trump repeatedly said he won the 2020 presidential election and repeated many of the unsubstantiated claims he has made since Election Day. Biden won the election and was sworn in on January 20.
Trump and his allies lost virtually all of the dozens of lawsuits challenging the result of the election. Attorney General Bill Barr said the Justice Department and the FBI had found no evidence of widespread fraud that would’ve altered the result.
“What has taken place over the last year under our administration would have taken any other president at least five years,” Trump said of the vaccine creation. “We also put up billions and billions of dollars, $US10 ($13) billion, to produce the vaccines before we knew they were going to work. It was called a calculated bet or a calculated risk. We took a risk because if we didn’t do that you still wouldn’t have the vaccines.”
The two coronavirus vaccines that were authorized for use in the US last year were made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Pfizer did not accept any government money to develop or test the vaccine from Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, The Associated Press reported.
“Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing costs have been entirely self-funded,” Jerica Pitts, a Pfizer spokeswoman, said in November. “We decided to self-fund our efforts so we could move as fast as possible.”
In July, the US agreed to buy 100 million doses worth about $US2 ($3) billion from Pfizer, but only if the vaccine development succeeded and the Food and Drug Administration approved it for use.
“Joe Biden is only implementing the plan that we put in place,” Trump said about vaccine distribution.
The Trump administration fell far short of its goal to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of 2020 – As of December 30, fewer than 2.8 million people had received their first shot, and about 12.4 million doses had been shipped.
Experts told Insider that the absence of clear federal guidance delayed vaccine rollouts and led to a patchwork response that varied by state. Biden made several changes including enlisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to open 100 federally supported mass vaccination sites across the country.
FEMA said that since January 20 it had directed about $US4 ($5) billion to vaccination efforts and opened or expanded 440 community vaccine centers across the country.
“Yet Biden said just a few days ago that when he got here, meaning the White House, there was no vaccine,” Trump said. “Now I don’t think he said that, frankly, in a malicious way. I really don’t. I actually believe he said that because he didn’t really know what the hell was happening.”
Trump was referring to an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in which Biden said: “When you and I talked last, we talked about – it’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator – how do you get the vaccine into someone’s arm?”
Kayleigh McEnany, Trump’s former press secretary, seized on the comment, tweeting that it was false and asking, “How does Joe get away with this?”
But a couple of minutes before Biden made that remark, he said, “We have – we came into office, there was only 50 million doses that were available.”
“In addition, he’s already increased refugee admissions by nearly 10 times,” Trump said of the president.
The AP reported that Biden wanted to admit four times as many refugees as Trump, not 10 times.
Trump’s annual limit of 15,000 refugees was a record low. Biden wants to increase that to 62,500.
“Frankly, we have the cleanest air, the cleanest water, and everything else that we’ve ever had,” Trump said, suggesting it was unnecessary to join the Paris climate agreement.
Trump has repeatedly said that the US had the cleanest air and water ever under his administration. Federal data indicated that the air in the US got dirtier and more dangerous to breathe under his administration.
Trump said of wind power: “It’s such an expensive form of energy. It’s so bad for the environment. It kills the birds. It destroys the landscapes.”
Trump was presumably referring to the power outages in Texas in February as a result of severe winter storms. Conservative pundits made misleading claims about renewable energy sources, saying that Texans lost power because wind turbines froze.
However, most energy sources that went offline during the storms were power plants that run on fossil fuels including natural gas. The agency that manages the state’s energy grid expected wind farms to produce only 7% of its energy this winter.
Trump has also said before that wind turbines are killing “all the birds.” But wind turbines are not a significant cause of death for birds: Wind turbines kill about 234,000 birds every year, while cats kill 2.4 billion birds.
You can watch the full speech here.