By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
Former President Donald Trump brought his message of conservatism to Wyoming on Saturday, addressing old grudges, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney and what he believes to be the failures of President Joe Biden.
The 45th president, speaking to a crowd of about 10,000 at the Ford Wyoming Center, brought the crowd to its feet by pledging that Cheney would be told “you’re fired” by Wyoming’s voters this fall.
“I think this is the most important election that we have, right here,” he said, adding later he finds the 2022 mid-term elections to be the most important mid-terms in U.S. history.
“We’re going to take back our country,” he said.
Trump’s appearance was a fundraiser for the congressional candidate Harriet Hageman, who he described as “one of the greatest lawyers.” Trump made a point to attack Cheney a number of times, at one point calling her a “crazy RINO,” a nickname for a ‘Republican in name only.’
“The Liz Cheneys of the world … they’re far worse,” he said. “Because you don’t know as much where the hell they are coming from.”
Cheney has spoken out against Trump a number of times over his insistence that he was cheated out of victory in the 2020 presidential election. She also voted for his impeachment on allegations he incited the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
A mashup photo of Cheney and former President George W. Bush generated great laughter from the audience.
Trump came back to Cheney time and time again, bringing up her role on the Jan. 6 Select Committee to Investigate the attack on the Capitol.
“What a load of crap,” he said. “Most of this country knows it.”
Trump expressed frustration that certain members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter are not in jail. He said he believed the crowd he spoke to on Jan. 6, 2021 at the Capitol before the riot to be the largest crowd he’s ever spoken before, and accused the “fake news media” of downplaying this achievement.
He also addressed a cast of other past adversaries throughout his more than 90 minute-long speech.
Trump claimed Ukraine would never be under attack if he was still president, and said the Russian aggression may turn into a third World War.
Trump and Russian President Vladimir consistently maintained a cozy relationship throughout his term. But on Saturday, Trump expressed a different opinion, saying “he (Putin) has come down a long ways.” Trump said while president, he threatened Putin and China President Xi Jinping against crossing him.
He also criticized President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“We wouldn’t have left American citizens behind,” he said.
Trump brought up the border, vowing to finish the remainder of the wall he was building there if elected again. This issue, historically one of his biggest talking points, wasn’t given much time during the speech.
Trump gave more attention to his foreign policy governance at a number of different points, mentioning his negotiating to have the United States paid back for debts from other countries in the North American Treaty Organization.
He said accusations made of his collusion with Russia during the 2016 election were a scheme drummed up by his former presidential opponent Democrat Hillary Clinton, causing him and his team to “go through hell.”
Cheney, he said, should have been just concerned with the allegations of Russian collusion as she is with Jan. 6.
Trump also complained about the media under-covering claims that his 2016 campaign was spied on by Clinton and former President Barack Obama. Trump said he has been persecuted more than Billy the Kid and Al Capone.
“If the tables were turned, it would be perhaps the death penalty,” he said.
Trump said he wants to know what happened during the 2020 elections and that under his leadership, Americans “lost nothing,” unlike under the administrations of Bush and President Joe Biden. He brought up a number of stolen election claims.
“If we’ve learned one thing from Trump is that our elections are seriously flawed,” he said, speaking in the first-person.
Trump described Biden as the worst president of all time, saying the difference between him and Biden “could not be more stark.”
Trump said “Trumpism” means low regulation, low taxes, taking care of veterans and not letting other countries take advantage of U.S. on trade. He described “Make America Great Again” as the greatest movement as “by far the greatest political movement in the history of our country, not even close.”
“There is no victory we cannot have,” he said.
Trump dedicated a portion of his speech to transgender issues, criticizing instances of biological males being allowed to participate in women’s sports.
Trump also criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and said Democrats are trying to ruin America.
He also had negative comments about the “fake news media,” remarking on how many media members were present at the event. Trump referred to “left-wing censorship” and said America no longer has free speech in America. He also said the media is against God and the U.S. founding fathers and is attempting to tear down the American fabric.
He said Democrats want Cheney to win her race because they want to hurt him.
“She’s the face of the Washington swamp,” he said.
Nearly every seat was filled at the Ford Wyoming Center, which has a capacity of 9,700.
The claim was falsely made however, as Trump walked on stage that it was the biggest crowd ever for a political event in Wyoming history. A few other events drew more people, including former President Barak Obama’s speech in Laramie in 2008 that drew around 16,000.
A little more than an hour into his speech, Trump seemed to lose focus, remarking on the quality of the TV screens on each side of the stage.
“What’s more fun than a Trump rally?” he questioned to loud applause.
More than 75 minutes in, a member in the audience behind him started yawning. A few people trickled out before the speech was over but most stayed and cheered loudly until the end. “Wyoming is Trump Country” displayed on the video screens immediately following his speech.
Trump referred to Wyoming as “majestic,” “MAGA-country,” and “ultra-MAGA-country.” He also expressed his love for the Wyoming Republican Party, and said he is very proud of party chairman Frank Eathorne.
“You’ve done an outstanding job,” he said to Eathorne. “But this is politics, so if you don’t win Frank, you did a lousy job.”
But earning the most attention of all his supporters was Hageman.
“Harriet, you better never let them down,” he said.
Hageman came up with Trump at one point in the speech, and mentioned how the country had a 4% surplus in terms of national oil production when Trump left office in January 2020. Now, the country has a roughly 4% deficit.
“Do you miss him yet?” she questioned the audience.
Trump asked if anyone wants him to run again, bringing the loudest cheer of the night from the audience and a standing ovation.
“We will make America great again,” Trump said, closing out his speech to a loud cheer.
Whatever questions about how much loyalty remains for Trump within his Republican base, the 10,000 people in attendance showed their support for the former president is steadfast.
Isaiah Cox, a South Dakota resident, drove three hours with his mother Larissa Cox to the event. The two said its Trump’s relatable nature, unafraid to offend his detractors or speak transparently that makes him so appealable.
“Seeing his speeches makes you all riled up,” Isaiah Cox said. “He’s got a backbone.”