Donald Trump said at his South Carolina rally on Saturday night that Republicans would ban critical race theory at the national level if they take back Congress in November’s midterm elections.
He said banning the theory in schools and workplaces was a ‘matter of survival’ that Americans needed to ‘lay their very lives down’ to defend.
As president Trump signed an executive order banning federal contractors from ‘efforts to indoctrinate government employees with divisive and harmful sex- and race-based ideologies.’
‘As President I was proud to issue the world’s first ban on critical race theory in September of 2020. Joe Biden rescinded that order, but as soon as we retake Congress, Republicans will ban critical race theory once and for all,’ the ex-president said on Saturday.
‘They will also defund the racist equity mandates across the entire federal government. No more illegal discrimination in everything. Getting critical race theory out of our schools is not just a matter of values. It’s also a matter of national survival. We have no choice.
‘The fate of any nation ultimately depends upon the willingness of its citizens to lay down, and they must do this, lay down their very lives to defend their country. If we allow the Marxists and communists and socialists to teach our children to hate America, there will be no one left to defend our flag or to protect our great country or its freedom.’
The former president took the stage at 7 p.m. on Saturday evening, commenting on the frigid temperatures and chilly winds
Critical race theory has been one of the mostly hotly contested topics of the US culture war in recent years as Republican seize on the anger of parents who want more say in what their children learn in schools.
So far, 14 Republican-led states have passed laws restricting how race and racism can be taught, according to Education Week.
During the rally Trump also attacked President Joe Biden as ‘physically and mentally challenged’ and tore into the Democrat commander-in-chief’s foreign policy in his first such event since Russia invaded Ukraine.
It’s also his first since Biden’s State of the Union address.
‘You could take the five worst presidents in American history and they would not have done the damage Joe Biden has done in just 13 months. We have a president representing our country at the most important time in history, who is physically and mentally challenged,’ the former president said.
He claimed Biden ‘failed to deter Russia’s outrageous invasion of Ukraine’ and that Russian President Putin would never have attacked Ukraine during his presidency.
‘The fate of any nation ultimately depends upon the willingness of its citizens to lay down, and they must do this, lay down their very lives to defend their country. If we allow the Marxists and communists and socialists to teach our children to hate America, there will be no one left to defend our flag or to protect our great country or its freedom,’ Trump said at the rally
‘The fake news said my personality got us into a war. ‘I’m telling you, that guy’s going to get us into a war.’ But actually, my personality is what kept us out of war. I was the only president in nearly four decades who did not get America into any new conflicts.’ Trump claimed.
Trump blasted Putin’s invasion as a ‘terrible atrocity’ though he did not mention the autocrat by name. The condemnation is a far cry from his heavily-criticized remarks calling Russia’s plan ‘genius’ late last month.
However at one point he described the Kremlin’s leader as a ‘driven’ man.
‘The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a terrible atrocity that should never have been allowed to happen or would have never happened. I know I speak for everyone here tonight. When I say we are praying for the proud people of Ukraine. They are going through hell,’ he said.
‘Make no mistake, however, that Russia would not have dared to annex one inch of territory. If I was in the White House. In fact, they never did it when I was there.’
He once again condemned the ‘bloodshed’ in Ukraine but seemed to complement Putin for being ‘driven’ in his attack.
His crowd was noticeably more charged-up than those at other recent rallies, despite the chilly temperatures
‘And for all the talk about violent conflict in Eastern Europe, and it’s a terrible thing, and we’re gonna help and we’re gonna do whatever we can because nobody can look at the bloodshed much longer what’s happening,’ Trump said.
‘It’s a lack of respect for a lot of people, a lot of things but it’s just a total lack of respect. And it happens to be a man that is just driven. He’s driven to put it together and you look at it and it’s just so ridiculous and so senseless and so horrible’
He also pointed to the Nord Steam 2 sanctions passed under his administration as evidence he was ‘tough’ on Putin. The pipeline, which would have sent natural gas directly from Russia to Germany and bypass Ukraine, saw its permit revoked by Berlin’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholz in response to Moscow declaring two breakaway regions in Ukraine as independent states.
‘Nobody was ever tougher on Russia than me. I’m the one that stopped the pipeline. I haven’t stopped. I’m the one that put all the sanctions on. And I’m the one that he didn’t attack during our administration,’ he said.
Biden announced a ban on Russian energy imports last week in response to Russia’s unprovoked and bloody attack. Since then Republicans have renewed calls to ramp up US oil and gas drilling to mitigate sky-high fuel prices, which reached a record $4.33 per gallon average on Friday.
‘Without the money coming in from energy, Russia doesn’t work. But to make this thread credible the US would have to immediately end Biden’s ridiculous war on American energy. We were energy independent,’ Trump said.
‘It’s very simple. We have to get our great energy workers drilling, pumping, producing, mining and refining like never before.’
Around Florence, prices at the pump seemed to sit right under $4.00 on Saturday.
‘Nobody’s so stupid,’ Trump said when discussing Biden going to other countries for oil rather than tapping natural resources on American soil.
‘He’s also selling out the brave people of Cuba and Venezuela, groveling at the feet of the oil-rich and brutal Maduro regime,’ he continued.
Pictured: swag being sold Saturday at Donald Trump’s Save America Rally in Florence, SC. Trump is heading to South Carolina in support of GOP House candidates Katie Arrington and Russell Fry
‘They’re after Maduro and now all of a sudden they say listen, ‘Forget that. Forget what we’ve been saying for the last long time… Forget the last 15 years, we’d like to buy oil. We’d pay you any price you want. Please, please, please sell us some oil. Please sell us some oil, we don’t have any oil.’ He must think we are the stupidest people on earth, you know,’ Trump said.
He also said that Cuban oil is ‘no good’, claiming it’s ‘very heavy’.
‘We have the best oil in the world that’s sitting right – I call it liquid gold,’ Trump said to a rowdy crowd as temperatures dipped into the low 30s. ‘And we don’t want to take it from us. You know, it’s a big advantage we have over China – we have oil, they don’t; we have natural gas, they don’t; we have coal, they don’t.’
Toward the end of the night Trump dropped yet another hint that he may once again run for office in the next election.
‘In 2024 we are going to take back that beautiful, beautiful White House. I wonder who will do that. I wonder, I wonder,’ he said.
The crowd was particularly charged up despite the frigid temperatures and chill winds, a contrast from the comparably more muted reception recent rallies have seen.
Hundreds of Trump supporters gathered in a field near Florence Regional Airport in northeast South Carolina despite intermittent rain and chilly winds.
The two candidates for the House of Representatives who Trump was backing at the rally, South Carolina state Rep. Russell Fry (left) and Katie Arrington (right)
Attendees’ dissatisfaction with the state of the economy was palpable. In addition to signs and flags expressing support for the former president, the muddy grass was dotted with signs criticizing President Joe Biden for pervasive supply chain issues and soaring prices.
Late last week the Labor Department announced inflation hit 7.9 percent in February, a devastating 40-year high.
The crowd broke into its first spirited chant shortly after 4 p.m. as the skies began to clear, cheering the anti-Biden phrase ‘Let’s Go Brandon.’
Trump is i South Carolina to support GOP House candidates Katie Arrington and Russell Fry. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is also slated to attend.
Before taking the stage Trump gave a brief interview to Right Side Broadcasting Network panning Biden for his handling of Ukraine and claiming the president’s treatment of Putin would embolden Chinese President Xi Jinping to take Taiwan.
‘It should have never happened – in million years this wouldn’t have happened. Putin just did what he wanted to do – he would not have done it with us… this was something that was not going to happen, or it would have happened in four years,’ Trump said.
Edward X. Young of Brick, N.J., shows off his Trump apparel on Saturday in Florence. The former president is stumping in South Carolina for two Republicans mounting primary challenges to sitting House incumbents who have been critical of Trump
‘Four years nothing – you know a lot of people are saying: ‘How come this didn’t take place during the four years that Trump was there?’ And you can say the same thing with China because that’ll be next with Taiwan. It’s a very sad situation.’
Trump was given several chances to condemn Putin during a Fox News interview on Friday night.
‘I got along with these people. I got along with them well,’ he said of his diplomatic relationship with Putin as well as the leaders of China and Iran.
‘That doesn’t mean they are good people. It doesn’t mean anything other than the fact that I understood them and perhaps they understood me — maybe they understood me even better.’
Meanwhile Putin’s forces have been bombarding Ukrainian cities for more than two weeks, since he personally ordered the attack on February 24.
The city of Mariupol has been under siege by Russian forces, who recently bombed a maternity hospital there while pregnant mothers and children were inside. Moscow officials have insisted there were no civilians, and photos of injured women desperately fleeing were staged with crisis actors.
Trump panned President Joe Biden as ‘physically and mentally challenged’ and claims Putin would not have invaded Ukraine under his watch
On Saturday Governor McMaster, up for re-election this November, criticized the Biden administration’s ‘weak’ handling of Russia’s war on Ukraine and lifted Trump up as a ‘bull elephant.’
‘Any who have doubts about the direness of our situation today need only look at the cost of food and fuel, at the southern border, at the consequences of unconstitutional unnecessary and destructive mandates issued from Washington, and at the plight of the Ukrainian people. This is a picture of American weakness,’ the governor said.
Arrington is challenging incumbent Rep. Nancy Mace, who scored a narrow victory over former Democrat Rep. Joe Cunningham in 2020 with Trump’s endorsement.
Arrington took the stage late in the afternoon, though fierce winds made her abandon the pages of her planned speech.
‘I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks for big daddy to come home,’ she said of Trump.
The Mace challenger also criticized her rival as ‘the Liz Cheney of the South.’
Trump followed hours later with his own criticism of the longtime Wyoming lawmaker. He called Cheney a ‘warmonger’ and a ‘nutjob.’
Fry is taking on Rep. Tom Rice, one of 10 Republican lawmakers who voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol riot. Saturday’s rally is in Rice’s 7th Congressional District.
Fry’s speech featured a play on words, calling on voters to ‘Fry the Rice’ at the polls in June.
Trump has so far endorsed eight challengers to sitting Republican lawmakers. Two are in South Carolina
Attendees’ dissatisfaction with the economy and the U.S. in general was palpable. Pictured: Woman poses with a Donald Trump cardboard cut out
Supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump, Jim Yates of Laurens, South Carolina, attends a rally at Florence Regional Airport
Two ex-Trump administration officials from South Carolina will be notably absent from the event — former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who served as the US Ambassador to the United Nations, and Mick Mulvaney, who was in the House of Representatives before serving as White House Chief of Staff.
Mulvaney quit the Trump administration the day after the January 6 attack on the Capitol last year.
Haley meanwhile has also waded into the upcoming South Carolina primaries on June 14 by endorsing Mace. She spoke at a fundraiser for the freshman congresswoman on Friday.
Mace, representing the Palmetto State’s 1st district, incurred Trump’s wrath after she broke with him following the Capitol riot, telling NBC the ex-president ‘put all of our lives at risk’ that day. She also said on the House floor that lawmakers ‘need to hold the president accountable.’ However, Mace did not vote to impeach him nor did she vote in favor of a bipartisan committee to investigate the insurrection.
Trump threw his support behind Arrington days after Haley backed Mace in early February. He previously backed Arrington, a former state lawmaker, for Mace’s seat in 2018. She narrowly defeated the district’s then-Republican incumbent in the GOP primary but went on to lose the general election to Cunningham.
The day after Trump endorsed Arrington, Mace video taped herself outside of Trump Tower in New York City reiterating her support for the former president and taking aim at her primary rival.
A service member of pro-Russian troops in a uniform without insignia is seen atop of an armoured vehicle during Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the separatist-controlled town of Volnovakha in the Donetsk region, Ukraine March 12
Mace said in the February 10 video she was one of Trump’s ‘earliest supporters’ and warned voters to only support Arrington ‘if you want to lose this seat once again in the midterm election cycle to Democrats,’ referring to her 2018 defeat.
The ex-president also took a shot at ‘crazy Nancy’ Mace and mocked her for filming the Trump Tower video.
‘Two years ago, she begged for my endorsement,’ Trump said. ‘She pledged to be America first all the way… instead the first thing Nancy Mace did when she got to Washington was start attacking Republicans and hold a fundraiser for wacky Liz Cheney.’
He continued, ‘She’s a terrible person. And she has no idea what she’s doing.’
Rice is among the Republican lawmakers who Trump has targeted over their January 6 impeachment vote.
Trump has so far endorsed eight challengers to sitting Republican lawmakers. Two are in South Carolina.
Fry, who currently serves in the State House of Representatives, recently released a controversial advertisement taking aim at Rice.
South Carolina’s two Republican senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, are not expected to attend the rally. Pictured (above and below): sales booth Saturday
Rain clouds gave way to clear, sunny skies as supporters filed in on Saturday afternoon
An actor portraying the GOP Congressman attends a ‘Villains Anonymous’ meeting that also included portrayals of the devil, Maleficent, Batman nemesis the Joker, Harry Potter character Dolores Umbridge — and Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Trump took a swing at Mace and Rice in a Friday statement previewing his event in Florence.
‘Big rally in South Carolina this weekend. Will be honoring Katie Arrington, who is running against the absolutely horrendous Nancy Mace, and Russell Fry, who is likewise running against “doesn’t have a clue” Tom Rice,’ he said through his Save America PAC
Later that day he announced his fourth rally of 2022, taking place in Commerce, Georgia at the end of March.
South Carolina’s two Republican senators, Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, did not attend the rally.
Graham, one of Trump’s top allies in Congress, recently distanced himself from the former president’s comments calling Russia’s autocratic leader a ‘genius’ for his plan to invade Ukraine in late February.
Earlier this month Graham said Trump’s remark was a ‘mistake.’