In Speech at CPAC, Trump Will Outline a Thriving U.S. Amid a Second Term

As voters in South Carolina head to the polls in what is only the fifth nominating contest in the Republican presidential race, former President Donald J. Trump will give a speech on Saturday afternoon near Washington, where he is expected to focus largely on his anticipated general-election contest against President Biden.

According to senior campaign officials, Mr. Trump will use his remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, to expand on a vision that he has evoked since 2020: that the United States is destined for a bleak future under President Biden and other Democrats.

But while Mr. Trump has largely cast his vision of the United States in dark terms during his third run for office, his CPAC speech will present a brighter vision for the country brought about by a second Trump term, said the officials, who requested anonymity to discuss campaign strategy freely.

“If we can break out of this Biden nightmare, we have it in our grasp to make America richer, safer, stronger, prouder and more beautiful than ever before,” Mr. Trump is expected to say, according to prepared remarks shared with The New York Times. “To lift millions from poverty. To give young people hope for the future again. To forge peace out of conflict, strength out of hardship and new industries on the ruins of hollowed-out towns.”

Such language is considerably more optimistic than Mr. Trump’s recent rhetoric on the campaign trail, where he has argued that his political opponents are a pernicious “threat from within” determined to destroy foundational American values.

Throughout his 2024 bid, Mr. Trump has portrayed the United States under the Biden administration as a nation in steep decline. Much of his stump speech focuses on denouncing Mr. Biden’s policies and insisting that he will halt them full-stop if he wins re-election.

Underpinning this appeal has been a sense of nostalgia: Mr. Trump has made explicit that he wants to restore the policies of his four years in office and build on them, particularly regarding immigration.

But the Trump campaign officials said Mr. Trump’s speech at CPAC was intended to be forward-looking. First, he will conjure a dark vision of what he sees as the future under Mr. Biden. Then, he will lay out a road map for a second term.

As part of his speech, Mr. Trump will vow to “throw out Bidenomics” and “reinstate MAGAnomics,” an effort to redefine terms that Mr. Biden has used to promote his economic policies and denigrate Mr. Trump’s.

Mr. Biden has frequently argued that he has been a better steward of the economy than Mr. Trump, whom he portrays as having undercut working-class Americans. Under Mr. Biden, the economy grew 3.1 percent from the end of 2022 to the end of 2023.

Mr. Trump will also take aim at Mr. Biden’s efforts to fight climate change, saying that “our economy will be starved of energy” and that “millions of manufacturing jobs will be choked into extinction,” adding, “You’ll have constant blackouts and rampant inflation.”

Mr. Trump’s focus on Mr. Biden will be a stark contrast from the major political event of the day: His effort to rout Nikki Haley, his lone remaining primary rival, in South Carolina and hand her a humiliating blow that could push her to exit the race.

But the CPAC speech will be one of several recent signals that Mr. Trump has turned his eye toward the general election in November, shifting his message from one intended to rally his conservative base to one that can win undecided voters in battleground states.

Last year at CPAC, Mr. Trump promised his followers that he would be their “retribution.” On the campaign trail, he has vowed to use the Justice Department to investigate, if not prosecute, his political opponents.

But Mr. Trump has backed off those promises in the face of polls showing that non-Republican voters are concerned that he poses a threat to democracy.

And so during this year’s CPAC speech, Mr. Trump is expected to say that President Biden will be “tried at the ballot box this November, and he will be judged and convicted by the American people.”

And he will repeat a more recent assertion about vengeance that is designed to reassure voters who will be key in November: that his “ultimate and absolute revenge” will be America’s success under a second Trump administration.

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