Former President Donald Trump on Saturday told attendees of the North Carolina GOP State Conference to “remember” that he’s trying to save America’s democracy, not undermine it.
Speaking at the Greenville Convention Center, Trump told the crowd, “I am not the one trying to undermine American Democracy, I’m the one trying to save it. Please remember that.” His remarks were received with loud applause from the crowd.
Democrats have routinely accused Trump of undermining Democracy and Americans’ faith in the election process by refusing to accept President Joe Biden‘s win and launching a series of hopeless lawsuits in several swing states.
After losing the 2020 election, Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that widespread voter fraud caused his defeat. On January 6, a crowd of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, seeking to disrupt the election certification process. Five people were killed in the incident, including one Capitol police officer.
Trump used the event on Saturday to further his claims, calling the presidential election “by far the most corrupt election in the history of our country.”
“They used the mail-in ballots to steal an election,” he said. “It was a third-world country election like we’ve never seen before.”
Trump vowed that Republicans would force out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and take over Congress in 2022. “We’re going to take back our country, and we’re going to take it back at a level that is very, very good for our country,” he said, “and it’s good for our citizens, because we can’t allow bad things to happen to our country.”
The ex-president also condemned Biden’s handling of the border crisis and economy, calling his administration “a disgrace to our country.”
“Our border is wide open, illegal immigration is skyrocketing at a level that we’ve never seen before, and this is over the period of a few months,” he said. “Drugs are pouring in, gas prices are soaring, our industries are being pillaged by foreign cyber attacks.”
Trump added: “The Biden administration seems to be putting America last … As we gather tonight, our country is being destroyed before our very own eyes.”
The speech marked Trump’s first official public appearance since his address to the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. He’s expected to hold at least two rallies next month.
Trump left the White House in January but remains the most powerful figure in the Republican Party. In recent months, the GOP has grappled with an intra-party rift between the Trump wing and the establishment wing impatient to end his influence on the party.
Though he has not confirmed a 2024 presidential run, Trump has hinted on numerous occasions that he’s seriously considering the possibility. Tonight, he said he was looking forward to that year.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment. This story will be updated with any response.