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Trump’s Victory Speech After Super Tuesday Conjures a Dark Vision

by Marko Florentino
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Despite dominating the Super Tuesday nominating contests, former President Donald J. Trump gave a victory speech short on celebration or exultation and long on sinister evocations of what he portrayed as a grim fate for the country if President Biden is re-elected.

“We’ve watched our country take a great beating over the last three years,” Mr. Trump told supporters on Tuesday night at Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence in Palm Beach, Fla. “And nobody thought a thing like this would be possible.”

He made no mention of his lone Republican rival, Nikki Haley, his former United Nations ambassador, whose victory in the Vermont primary — the first state she has carried — was called by The Associated Press just as he finished speaking.

A somber Mr. Trump recited a meandering list of grievances, insisting that the nation was descending toward chaos under Mr. Biden’s leadership. He railed against a lack of border security, China policy and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, at one point spinning off to complain about “brand-new beautiful equipment left behind.”

“Jets and tanks and everything you can think of. Goggles. Night goggles,” he said. “They didn’t used to fight at night. Now they do, because they have goggles. They have better goggles than we have.”

On a night when he rolled through Republican primary elections, Mr. Trump raised doubts about the integrity of the voting process.

“We’re a third-world country at our borders, and we’re a third-world country at our elections,” Mr. Trump said.

His speech was yet another signal that he has turned his focus toward the general election and an increasingly likely fight against Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump asserted, as he often does, that foreign policy crises in Ukraine and Gaza would have been averted had he only won in 2020.

And he again characterized the migrants surging across the nation’s southern border at record levels as part of an “invasion,” broadly casting them as violent criminals and murderers.

Border authorities who worked for the former president have said that most of those who cross the border are vulnerable families fleeing poverty and violence.

Mr. Trump did briefly nod to his victories, calling Tuesday an “amazing day” and thanking his family and campaign staff. A collection of close allies and family members were on hand for the moment, including Mr. Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr.; his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump; Roger Stone, a longtime associate; Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia; and Representative Byron Donalds of Florida. Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, did not attend.

Even as Ms. Haley won Vermont, and has put up strong showings in several states that suggest a faction of Republicans remain opposed to his candidacy, Mr. Trump maintained that the party would unite behind him.

His success, he said, was “ultimately going to unify this country and unify this party.”

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