INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — Former President Donald Trump told Breitbart News exclusively that he believes the movement supporting his 2024 comeback campaign is “even stronger” than the one that backed him in 2016.
“I think, in terms of movement–you can use that word if you want–but I think it’s even stronger than it was in 2016,” Trump said in an interview backstage after his speech to the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) gathering here earlier this month. “People saw what we can do.”
Indiana, where Breitbart News interviewed Trump, is a particularly historic place for Trump’s political rise. It is here where Trump finalized his 2016 insurgent takeover of the GOP, becoming the presumptive presidential nominee in 2016 after he vanquished Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the final primary in which they competed before suspending their campaigns.
That May 3, 2016, primary shocked the world, as Cruz’s and Kasich’s decisions to drop out after losing it to Trump meant that the political outsider and businessman had solidified his grip on the GOP and would a few months later formally win the GOP nomination on the floor of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in the summer of 2016. Trump also selected the then-governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, as his running mate in 2016. While Trump and Pence have fallen out since the 2020 election, the two worked well together during Trump’s four years in the White House–a relationship that began here in Indiana in 2016.
“I love Indiana,” Trump told Breitbart News.
Trump said that Indiana has been one of the states worst impacted by radical leftist and globalist policies–and again reiterated he thinks that the economic nationalist movement that propelled him into the White House in 2016 is even “better and bigger” now. Trump, too, noted that he endorsed Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) for U.S. Senate here. Banks is running next year for the open seat that now-Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) is vacating to run for governor. Both Banks and Braun have endorsed Trump.
“I think it’s bigger now than it was then,” Trump said. “Now we’ve been tested. We had four great years, and we did things nobody thought could be done, including cutting taxes at the highest level, cutting regulations at a level that gave us the most jobs we ever had. Indiana was a big beneficiary. Indiana was a state that was taken advantage of by foreign countries taking jobs away. Indiana became a boomtown. In fact, I just endorsed, as you know, a great gentleman, Jim Banks. There’s nobody even running against him now–they all dropped out after the endorsement–but I think he’ll be a great senator. Hopefully, nobody will run against him, but if they did, I don’t think it even matters. He’s going to do a great job, and he’s very popular. We have to change it.”
Trump’s prediction that this 2024 movement is bigger than the 2016 one is particularly noteworthy, especially given that he made a similar prediction in the summer of 2016 in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News in Cleveland, Ohio, just ahead of the GOP convention. Back then, he said what was happening in the United States was much bigger than what had just happened in the United Kingdom with Brexit–essentially calling his November victory shot months in advance. In that interview, Trump said he was a “messenger to a movement.”
“This is bigger than what happened in the U.K.,” Trump said in that 2016 interview. “This will be bigger than what happened in the U.K. What happened in the U.K. is peanuts compared to what’s happening in the United States.”
Trump’s ability to read the emotion of vast segments of the population and tap into that energy is what fueled his 2016 victory and what he hopes fuels another victory in 2024. First, Trump needs to again win the GOP nomination–polling shows him way out in the lead as the clear frontrunner in that regard. Then, he would need to win a general election–and to do that, he, in all likelihood, will need to win a rematch with incumbent Democrat President Joe Biden.
Biden obviously announced his reelection campaign on Tuesday of this week, and polling shows Trump leading Biden in 2024–but that fight is just beginning.
Trump, who in this interview also hit Biden over immigration and the economy and foreign policy, slammed the Biden administration’s radical green agenda.
“All electric cars, no gas stoves, water faucets where water doesn’t come out? How about the water faucets where water doesn’t come out?” Trump said.
Asked why he thinks this movement is bigger and stronger than it was in 2016, Trump said that people feel like their country is slipping away from them.
“They want their country back. It’s simple,” Trump said. “They want their country back. Their country has been taken away from them. On top of it, whenever something happens, they get accused of the worst things. All they want is common sense. You know what it’s about? We can all say we’re conservative or this or that, but it’s really about common sense. We need borders. We need good schools. We want low prices. We don’t want inflation. We want a strong military. We want no regulations or as little as possible. You know, it’s common sense–most of it. They want that back.”
He said that some people over Easter were painting potatoes because they could not afford eggs under Biden’s abysmal economy.
“They couldn’t get eggs,” Trump said.
“I just think that the spirit now, and you’re looking at the polls–once I started campaigning because I announced just prior to the year. I announced just prior to the beginning of the year, and then the media said, ‘he hasn’t done a rally,’ and I said, ‘it’s two years to go,’ well now we’re getting very close,” Trump said.
“We really started moving about a month and a half ago. Since then, it’s been one way up. It’s been an amazing thing to watch. People want to see and want to have their country back. They want to stop the invasion. They want to stop the drugs from pouring in. Drugs are coming into our country now at such a record level. We spent so much time and money stopping it. We had our great German Shepherds all over the place and expensive equipment–by the way, nothing is better than a certain type of German Shepherd, you know that, right? Better than millions of dollars worth of equipment. Who would have thought? They’re unbelievable. They left the dogs in Afghanistan for the Taliban, and the Taliban doesn’t like dogs; so that probably wasn’t a good ending.”