Trump Returns to D.C. for First Time Since Leaving Office to Speak at Ultra-Conservative Conference

·3 min read
US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas on January 12, 2021
US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas on January 12, 2021

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Donald Trump

Donald Trump will return to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday for the first time since leaving office to deliver a keynote address at a summit hosted by America First Policy Institute, a conservative think tank founded by staffers from the former president's administration.

The speech will reportedly serve as a vision for what a Trump 2024 platform might be, delivered even as Trump has not officially announced whether he plans to launch another campaign.

Politico reports that this will be 76-year-old Trump's first return to D.C. since leaving in January 2021, shortly after he lost the election to Joe Biden and after a crowd of his supporters breached the U.S. Capitol, a scene that turned deadly and led to his second impeachment.

RELATED: Trump Says Decision to Run in 2024 Is 'Already Made' and Now He's Weighing When to Announce Candidacy

As former Republican House speaker and Trump ally Newt Gingrich told Politico: "It's an opportunity for President Trump to come to Washington and give a visionary speech about why the future would be better with his leadership — and to the degree he focuses on that it could be a very important speech."

In true Trump fashion, however, the speech could include more than that. In the bulk of his public appearances since leaving office, the former president has continued to focus on his electoral loss, insisting (without evidence) that it was fraudulent or stolen from him.

Trump's return to Washington comes amid a House select committee's investigation of the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

Among the many revelations of the hearings so far have been that Trump told advisers he did not want to say "the election's over" in a video message he recorded as the riots unfolded. Testimony from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson alleged that Trump was aware his supporters were armed in D.C. on Jan. 6, and that he lunged at a member of his own Secret Service detail in the car in an attempt to reach the Capitol that day.

Republican Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair, said there will be more hearings in September after investigators spend August "pursuing emerging information on multiple fronts."

RELATED: 187 Minutes: Jan. 6 Witnesses Describe What Trump Did — and Didn't Do — While Riot Raged at Capitol

Meanwhile, a liberal super PAC has alleged that Trump is breaking the law by profiting off a campaign that so far hasn't been officially declared.

Campaign finance laws overseen by the Federal Election Commission require those who raise or spend more than $5,000 for a campaign to register as a candidate. A suit by the liberal group American Bridge contends that Trump is building an arsenal of funds illegally, and that the FEC hasn't stopped him from doing so.

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While he hasn't announced a 2024 campaign, the former president has openly flirted with the idea, and began hinting about a return to the White House almost as soon as he left, including in a July 1, 2021, interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, when he said "yes" when asked whether he had made a decision regarding a 2024 campaign.

A year later — in July 2022 — Trump told a reporter for New York magazine, "[In] my own mind, I've already made that decision, so nothing factors in anymore."