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Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.



Donald Trump and the American Freedom Tour comes to Broward County

Former President Donald Trump returned to Broward County on Saturday, March 19, speaking during a full-day, high-ticket event billed for conservative insiders and ardent supporters of his agenda.

Former President Donald Trump returned to Broward County Saturday to speak to some of his most ardent supporters from the stage of FLA Live Arena at the American Freedom Tour, a private event where attendees paid up to $6,999 for seats and access to some of the Republican Party’s biggest names.

Ahead of Trump, Pastor Mark Burns warmed up the crowd by falsely declaring that Trump won the 2020 election and leading a chant of “Trump won.” Conservative pundit Candace Owens, according to the private event’s Twitter feed, called COVID “a government virus.”

Prior to the former president’s speech, his son, Donald Trump Jr., criticized the U.S. withdrawal of Afghanistan from the stage at FLA Live Arena.

“We left 86 billion dollars of equipment,” Trump Jr. said. “Our generals, and I quote, ‘could not see this coming’ … You know who could see it coming? Everybody!”

READ MORE: The American Freedom Tour with Trump is under way in Broward. Here’s what’s happening now.

Then the former president spoke.

Following a video introduction of a monologue from the 1970 movie “Patton” played on a giant video screen — “When you put your hand into a bunch of goo, that a moment before was your best friend’s face … you’ll know what to do” — the President launched into attacks on President Joe Biden and “the socialist left.”

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READ MORE: See photos of Trump supporters arriving at the American Freedom Tour event in Broward

Here are some excerpts:

On the American Freedom Tour

“They pulled this together in about three days and the place is packed,” Trump said, pivoting to attacks on the press. “Everybody always remain in their seat. The fake news if they see one empty seat they’ll say ‘It wasn’t sold out.’ It sold out so fast. You know, we didn’t allow the fake news in today.”

(The American Freedom Tour did not offer press credentials for the event, so the Miami Herald purchased a ticket. Proceeds, according to an event representative, paid for the cost of the event and for speaker fees. The American Freedom Tour continued to show tickets available on its website as Trump was speaking.)

A question to event organizers about the head count and ticket sales was not immediately answered. The American Freedom Tour stage was set-up concert style, with one-third of the arena and the highest seating levels blocked off. Available seating was packed and nearly full, with sparse open seating left. Some attendees circled the stadium trying to find an open space.

On helping Ron DeSantis become Florida’s governor

“I got a lot of great people elected in Florida. Your governor was elected. Ron came to me, along with 12 other people,” Trump said about his endorsement of DeSantis in the 2018 Republican primary race for Florida governor. “Ron was at 3% and he was not going to win, and he came to me and said, “If you endorse me I think I’m going to win.’ I said, ‘Ron, you got a long way to go.’”

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“The Secretary of Agriculture, he had 38[% support] and $22 million in cash. Ron was at [3%] with no cash. Other than that he was doing well. He was helpful so I endorsed him and they said it was like a, to use a terrible term, like a nuclear weapon went off. He ended up winning easy. He went from 3% to 71[%].’”

On war and the Afghanistan withdrawal

“It was my personality that kept us out of war,” he said. “I was the only president in four decades who did not get America into any conflicts, except I totally defeated ISIS.”

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“Other nations should not mistake Joe Biden’s weakness for America’s weakness. American power, American might, American leadership will soon be back and it will be back bigger and stronger then ever before.”

On winning Florida by 3 points in 2020

“We had a tremendous victory in Florida. Remember, they came in with hundreds of millions of dollars. They were going to beat us. We beat the hell out of them. We beat them big.”

On running in 2024

“We won twice. We did much better the second time, and we may have to do it again,” said Trump, continuing to promote the lie that he won the 2020 election and teasing a third run.

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Shortly after, he said: “With the support of everyone in this room, we will take back the House, we will take back the Senate and we will take back our country, and then most importantly in 2024 we are going to take back our beautiful White House.”

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On gas prices

“Joe Biden’s devastating assault, like nobody has ever seen before, on American energy production has left our citizens paying the highest gas prices in the history of our county.”

“Despite the fact that America is the most energy-rich nation on the planet … Biden is now pathetically begging countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela to please bail out America when just one-and-a-half years ago we were getting rich and powerful off of our energy.”

This article will be updated.

This story was originally published March 19, 2022 6:57 PM.

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