Former US president Donald Trump says he has no plans to launch a new political party, telling a conservative conference in Florida that it would split the Republican vote.
In his first speech since Democrat Joe Biden became president, he also hinted that he might run for office again in 2024, the BBC reports.
Trump strongly criticised his successor, saying US policy had gone from “America first to America last”.
His appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday showed his continuing influence over the Republican party.
The mood of the conference has been extremely pro-Trump and the 74-year-old former president was loudly cheered when he appeared on stage.
“I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we began together four years ago is far from over,” he said. “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.”
He dismissed any idea that he might start a new political party, describing rumours he would do so as “fake news”.
“Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party so we can divide our vote and never win,” he joked.
“We have the Republican party. It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before.”
Despite losing November’s presidential election and being deeply criticised over the January riot, reports suggest Trump remains extremely popular.
Last week one US poll suggested 46% of surveyed Trump voters would vote for him if he left the Republicans and started his own party.
He hinted at another presidential run in 2024, with a swipe that showed he still believes he won in November, saying: “Who knows? I may even decide to beat them for a third time, OK?”
He denounced the new administration, criticising Biden for reversing his hard line on immigration and border security.
“We all knew that the Biden administration was going to be bad but none of us even imagined just how bad they would be and how far left they would go,” he told the cheering crowd.
The conference is seen as the most influential gathering of US conservatives and a barometer of the Republican party’s political direction.