Trump back in spotlight with speech

Donald Trump will deliver the closing speech at a conservative conference in Orlando.
Donald Trump will deliver the closing speech at a conservative conference in Orlando.

Former US President Donald Trump will deliver the closing speech at a conservative conference, making it clear he intends to remain a dominant force within the Republican Party.

Trump will use the speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday to blast his successor, President Joe Biden, and try to cement his status as the party's undisputed leader going forward despite his loss in November.

"I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over," Trump will say, according to excepts of his speech released early.

"We are gathered this afternoon to talk about the future - the future of our movement, the future of our party, and the future of our beloved country."

The event so far at a Hyatt hotel in Orlando has been a tribute to Trump and Trumpism, complete with a golden statue in his likeness.

Speakers, including many potential GOP 2024 hopefuls, have argued the party must embrace the former president and his followers, even after the deadly riot at the Capitol.

"We definitely won't win back the White House in 2024 if we erase Donald Trump," said Republican Jim Banks of Indiana.

On Biden, Trump is expected to rebuke what he will frame as the new administration's first month of failures, including Biden's approach to immigration and his decision to halt construction of Trump's southern border wall.

Trump will also attack Biden's foreign policy and his handling of the economy as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

It is highly unusual for past American presidents to publicly criticise their successors so soon after leaving office.

Ex-presidents typically step out of the spotlight for at least a while.

Barack Obama was famously seen kitesurfing on vacation after he departed, while George W Bush said he believed Obama "deserves my silence" and took up painting.

Australian Associated Press