Former President Trump will say, ‘it’s time for real leadership in the White House,’ at a rally in Alabama this evening, according to a top ally who said it was a clearest signal yet that he is planning to run for the presidency in 2024.
Trump has spent the past week attacking President Biden’s handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
And when he appears in front of thousands of fans in Cullman County he is expected to develop those attacks to ask whether Americans can be safe anywhere in the world with Biden in the White House, said the ally who has seen drafts of the speech.
‘I’m expecting to hear the president use the line: ‘It’s time for real leadership in the White House,’ he said.
‘And even though aides say there is no final announcement, no final decision it still is the clearest indicator that he’s likely to run in 2024.’
Former President Trump has been in out of New York – pictured here as he left Trump Tower in Manhattan on Monday – as he summers at his New Jersey golf club. On Sunday he hits the rally stage in Alabama where he is expected to blast President Biden’s handling of Afghanistan
Trump’s rallies were a key part of his campaign appeal and now he is continuing to hold them even when he is out of office
Trump’s visit to Alabama will be his fourth campaign-style rally since leaving the White House
Trump has repeatedly hinted that he is planning a run but insiders say no announcement is expected until after next year’s midterms.
He dangled the idea once again this week when Sean Hannity asked him the question live on Fox News.
‘So, because the campaign finance laws are extremely complicated and unbelievably stupid, I am actually not allowed to answer that question, can you believe that? I would love to answer it,’ he said.
‘But let me put it this way, I think you’ll be happy and I think a lot of our friends will be very happy.’
Organizers have publicly said they expect about 20,000 people to attend the rally at York Family Farms on Saturday.
Privately, they say 50,000 people have applied for tickets which could make it the biggest Trump rally in history.
But having been burned last year – when they claimed a million people had RSVPed for a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, only for 6200 to attend – they are reluctant to make such predictions public.
Crowds of tens of thousands present their own problems. Trump arrives in Cullman two days after it announced a public health emergency amid spiralling numbers of COVID-19 cases.
His speech is expected to tie the Afghan withdrawal with other foreign entanglements, from Taiwan’s vulnerability to China and Beijing’s territorial aggression in the South China Sea to Israel and the Middle East, all the way up to America’s southern border.
‘The question is how safe do Americans feel under Joe Biden,’ said the ally.
Biden’s approval ratings have been in freefall, first after a surge in COVID-19 cases and then amid the fall-out from television images of chaos in Kabul.
A Rasmussen Reports poll this week reported that Trump would beat Biden by six points if an election do-over were held now.
Trump insiders say Biden’s bungled handling of the crisis has reminded voters that they miss the former president’s America First message.
Trump himself has seized on the crisis to issue a running commentary with emailed statements and television interviews.
On the eve of the rally, he said: ‘Joe Biden must apologize to America for allowing the military to leave before civilians and for allowing $85 billion dollars worth of sophisticated military equipment to be handed over to the Taliban (and Russia and China so they can copy it) rather than bringing it back to the United States!’
And earlier in the week, he spelled out his concerns in detail to Hannity.
‘It’s not the concept of leaving,’ he said.
‘It’s the way they withdrew. It was not even possible to believe.’
President Biden flew back to the White House from Camp David on Tuesday evening. His approval rating has plunged and the administration is in damage limitation mode as it deals with the crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. Making matters worse, Biden has spent days at the presidential retreat rather than at the White House
Former President Trump condemned President Biden’s handling of the Afghan withdrawal, as thousands of Americans await rescue from the country
Biden and his officials have claimed their hands were tied by a deal struck with the Taliban by Trump.
But the former president said he made clear in negotiations there would be consequences if Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s political chief, failed to stick to the terms of their deal.
‘We had a very strong conversation,’ he said.
‘I told them upfront, I said: ‘Look, before we start, let me just tell you right now that if anything bad happens to Americans or anybody else, or if you ever come over to our land, we will hit you with a force that no country has ever been hit with before, a force so great that you won’t even believe it, and your village, and we know where it is – and I named it – will be the first one.’
American officials day they have been in contact with Kabul’s new rulers, the Taliban, who had promised safe passage for those trying to reach the airport.
Trump said the U.S. had never suffered a worse humiliation, with thousands of ‘potential hostages’ stuck in the country.
‘You can go back to Jimmy Carter with the hostages. We all thought that was a great embarrassment and we were pulled out of that by Ronald Reagan,’ he said.
‘This is a many many times worse and you’re dealing with thousands and thousands of Americans and others that are stranded and very dangerously really stranded in Afghanistan.’