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Former President Donald Trump makes keynote speech at CPAC 2021

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Former President Donald Trump teased a possible 2024 run and bashed the Biden administration at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday as he delivered his first public speech since leaving the White House less than six weeks ago.

Trump was greeted with a standing ovation as he took the stage in Orlando to declare that  “our movement … is just getting started.” 

“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” Trump told the enthusiastic crowd.

“Our movement of proud hardworking American patriots is just getting started,” he said. “And in the end we will win!”

While making clear that he intends to remain a force in the Republican party, Trump hinted at a possible 2024 run for president.

Referring to Democrats, he said: “I may even decide to beat them for a third time,” drawing deafening cheers from attendees.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando

Former President Donald Trump speaks at CPAC.

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American Conservative Union Holds Annual Conference In Florida

People celebrate after listening to former President Donald Trump speak

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Trump also said he would be working to get “strong, tough” Republicans elected and slammed rumors that he planned on starting a new political party as “fake news.”

“We have the Republican Party,” Trump said. “It is going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”

“We’re not starting new parties. You know, they kept saying, ‘he’s going to start a brand new party.’ We have the Republican Party, it is going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news. Fake news. No. Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote, so that you can never win. No we’re not interested in that.”

Trump later repeated his claims that the 2020 election was “rigged,” drawing chants of “You won!” from the crowd.

He claimed that the US Supreme Court “didn’t have the courage to act” on lawsuits challenging the results, adding: “They should be ashamed of themselves for what they’ve done to our country. They didn’t have the guts or the courage to make the right decision.”

He also took shots at his successor, claiming that President Biden has had the “most disastrous first month than any president in modern history.”

“We all knew the Biden administration was going to be bad, but no one knew how bad they would be,” Trump said.

“There’s no better example than the new and horrible crisis on our southern border,” he continued. “In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last.”

Trump argued that Biden’s immigration policy would cost Democrats the next two federal elections.

“We’re one country. We can’t afford the problems of the world,” he said. “As much as we’d love to — we’d love to help. We can’t do that. So they’re all coming because of promises and foolish words.”

The ex-president also called for reopening the nation’s schools amid the pandemic, charging that Biden had “sold out America’s students to the teachers unions.”

“Joe Biden has shamefully betrayed America’s youth, and he is cruelly keeping our children locked in their homes, no reason for it whatsoever, they want to get out,” Trump said.

“They are cheating the next generation of Americans out of the future that they deserve and they do deserve this future,” he continued. “They’re going to grow up, and they’re going to have a scar… the mental and physical health of these young people is reaching a breaking point.”

“On behalf of the moms, dads and children of America, I call on Joe Biden to get the schools open and get them open now,” Trump said, to applause.

He also touted his administration’s work in getting a coronavirus vaccine ready, saying: “Never let them take the credit, they’re just following our plan.”

Trump bashed the Biden administration over claims that it was “starting from scratch” to develop a national vaccine distribution plan because the former president had left them with nothing.

CPAC Conference in Orlando, USA - 28 Feb 2021

Supporters of former President Trump rally in front of the Hyatt Regency Orlando where the annual CPAC is being held.

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Trump supporters rally outside CPAC.

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“Biden said we didn’t have the vaccine. Now, I really think he said that because he didn’t know what the hell was going on,” Trump quipped.

He also slammed “big tech,” calling on the break up of monopolies and for “fair competition” to be restored.

“Big Tech giants like Twitter, Google and Facebook should be punished with major sanctions whenever they silence conservative voices,” Trump said.

Trump returned to the national spotlight to cap the four-day annual conference in Orlando as Republicans hope to regain majorities in the House and Senate in the midterm elections 2022 and win the White House in 2024.

He used his speech to unify Republicans, while slamming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats, saying that “Their party is based upon unvarnished disdain for America.”

“Our party is based on love for American and the belief that this is an exceptional nation blessed by God.”

“We respect our great American flag!” Trump said, drawing a prolonged chant of “We love you” from the audience.

The ex-president said it was “an honor” to get the crowd’s adoration, before continuing to describe the GOP as “committed to defending innocent life and uploading the Judeo-Christian values” of America’s founders.

*** BESTPIX *** American Conservative Union Holds Annual Conference In Florida

Marcia English shows her support for former President Trump outside the CPAC.

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Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando

Former President Trump delivers the keynote address at CPAC.

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“We embrace free thought.. and we reject left-wing lunacy and in particular, we reject ‘cancel culture,’” he said. “We believe in law and order… we don’t ‘defund the police.’”

He also noted the rise of the term “Trumpism,” saying, “I didn’t come up with it but what it means is great deals,” as well as low taxes, strong borders, Second Amendment protections and “support for the forgotten men and women who have been taken advantage of for so many years.”

At the same time, the former president went after anti-Trump Republicans, calling out the “grandstanding” lawmakers by name, including many who voted to impeach him in the House and Senate.

“Top establishment Republicans in Washington should be spending their energy in opposing Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and the Democrats,” Trump said. “I’ve said to some of them I said, ‘You know, during the Obama years and now during Biden, if you spent the same energy on attacking them, you’d actually be successful as you do on attacking me in many cases.’”

Trump dubbed GOP lawmakers who oppose him “RINOs” or “Republicans in Name Only” as the crowd booed them in turn.

“Get rid of them all,” Trump said.

He pointed out his endorsement of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, eliciting more loud boos from the crowd.

“Democrats always stick together, you don’t have Mitt Romneys in the group. Fortunately for the Republicans, the Democrats have terrible policies,” Trump said. “So hence we have, congratulations, the Republican party.”

“But if Republicans don’t stick together, the RINOs that we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself.”

“Now more than ever is the time for tough, strong and energetic Republican leaders who have spines of steel. We need strong leadership,” Trump said.

Leading up to Trump’s eagerly-awaited remarks, a parade of possible Republican presidential hopefuls — including Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz — served as opening acts over the weekend to fire up the CPAC crowd for the one-time commander-in-chief.

Since leaving office on Jan. 20, Trump has been at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, meeting with former campaign officials and Republican lawmakers as he lays the groundwork for a political comeback for himself and the GOP.

Trump ended his speech at CPAC by saying: “We will first take back the House and then a Republican president will make a triumphant return to the White House. I wonder who that will be?”

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FDA finds peeling paint, debris at US plant making J&J’s COVID vaccine

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A US plant that was making Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine must fix a long list of problems including peeling paint and unsanitary conditions and practices to resume operation, according to a highly critical report by the Food and Drug Administration.

Experts said addressing the issues raised in the scathing FDA inspection report could take months.

Neither J&J nor the FDA has said when they expect vaccine production to restart at the Baltimore plant owned by Emergent Biosolutions. Only two other plants are currently equipped to supply the world with the key drug substance for J&J’s vaccine.

“It may take many months to make these changes,” said Prashant Yadav, a global health care supply chain expert at the Center for Global Development. He described some of the issues raised by the FDA as “quite significant.”

No vaccine manufactured at the Emergent plant has been distributed for use in the United States. However, J&J said it will exercise its oversight authority to ensure that all of the FDA observations are addressed promptly and comprehensively.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on a pause in the US over a potential link to a blood clotting condition.
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The health care conglomerate has drawn scrutiny for months over its halting process to scale up production of a vaccine that is easier to handle and, by virtue of being a single shot, easier to use than other authorized vaccines.

Its use in the United States has been paused since last week as health officials study a possible link to a very rare but serious blood clot condition.

Emergent has been seeking regulatory authorization to make the J&J vaccine in the United States. It stopped production at the plant recently, saying the FDA had asked it to do so after an inspection.

J&J’s plant in Leiden, the Netherlands, is still producing doses for the world. It has another facility in India, which is currently curtailing exports of the shot as it struggles to vaccinate its own population.

Johnson & Johnson reiterated on Wednesday that it was working to establish a global supply chain in which 10 manufacturing sites would be involved in the production of its COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to the Leiden plant.

The company has a US government-brokered agreement with rival drugmaker Merck, which is preparing to make doses of J&J’s vaccine.

Failure to train personnel

The FDA in its final 12-page inspection report said it had reviewed security camera footage in addition to an in-person site visit to the Emergent plant.

It found a failure to train personnel to avoid cross-contamination of COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which had also been produced at the site. The agency also cited staff carrying unsealed bags of medical waste in the facility, bringing it in contact with containers of material used in manufacturing.

The FDA reviewed security camera footage and visited the Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore.
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Earlier this week, the House launched an investigation into whether Emergent used its relationship with a Trump administration official to get a vaccine manufacturing contract despite a record of not delivering on contracts.

Emergent said in a statement that it is working with the FDA and J&J to quickly resolve the issues outlined in the report.

Production of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the United States, was previously stopped at the Emergent plant after ingredients from that shot contaminated a batch of J&J vaccine, ruining millions of doses.

The FDA also noted that Emergent did not produce adequate reports showing that the vaccines it was producing met quality standards.

The inspection, carried out between April 12 and April 20, also found the building not of suitable size or design to facilitate cleaning, maintenance or proper operations.

J&J said it was redoubling its efforts to get authorization for the facility as quickly as possible.

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One dead after pair of fires breaks out in Manhattan

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One person was killed and several others were injured in a pair of Manhattan fires Wednesday morning, officials said.

The first blaze erupted in Midtown around 8:15 a.m. inside a DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse at 213 W. 34th St., where an escalator became fully engulfed in flames — sending smoke billowing into the first and second floor and the interconnected 40-story hotel building, fire officials said.

It was not immediately clear which hotel it was.

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries putting out the blaze.

“The fire went out, but we have a smoke condition that we’re trying to alleviate,” FDNY Battalion Chief John Porretto said at the scene. “Units are going to remain on scene until all the smoke alleviates.”

The fire marshal will determine the causes of the fire.

A second blaze broke out 15 minutes later on the Upper East Side at 1576 2nd Ave., officials said.

A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th Street in Manhattan that left one dead
A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th St. in Manhattan left one dead.
NYFD

One man died in the fire and a second man was in serious condition at Lenox Hill Hospital, police said.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries battling the blaze and was taken to Cornell Hospital, fire officials said.

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NYC school leaders react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

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The leaders of the city’s public schools and largest charter network both weighed in on the Derek Chauvin verdict with passionate statements about how there is still a long way to go to reach systemic equality.

Department of Education Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter issued a personal commentary Tuesday night after the murder conviction of former Minnesota cop Chauvin.

“I felt pain and rage, deep in my bones,” she said of her initial reaction to George Floyd’s death. “It wasn’t a new feeling. I have felt that many times in my life, as a Black woman, sister, daughter, and mother to Black children—and as an educator who has served children of color in this city for more than 20 years.”

Ross-Porter said the Department of Education would be issuing guidance for teachers and families to help them process the verdict.

Eva Moskowitz with two students, the CEO and Founder of the Success Academy
Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz issued a statement on the Derek Chauvin verdict.
Brigitte Stelzer

“For our Black and brown children to know that they matter, the accountability this verdict represents is so important,” she stated. “In a world that too often tells them otherwise, accountability in this moment tells the Black and brown children in our schools that their lives matter, and lifts up the importance of their futures.”

Several teachers told The Post on Wednesday morning that they planned to broach the topic with their students to allow them to discuss Floyd’s death and Chauvin’s conviction.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter said the Department of Education would issue guidance to help teachers and families process the verdict.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter said the Department of Education would issue guidance to help teachers and families process the verdict.
Mark Lennihan/AP

“Because while the individual who took George Floyd’s life will be held accountable, we recognize that systemic racism, and the violence it fuels, is still creating tragedy and inequality across our country every single day,” Ross-Porter said. “We are all part of the work to undo this harm and reach true justice.”

Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, who oversees the city’s largest charter school network, also issued a statement.

People react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
People react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
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“We are grateful that justice has been served and that the judicial process has worked as intended,” she wrote. “We recognize, however, that this verdict does not resolve the systemic inequities that led to Floyd’s death; nor does it heal the anguish we feel witnessing our fellow citizens die at the hands of the public servants tasked with protecting us.”

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