by Onan Coca
President Donald Trump was once again the most anticipated speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), a place where he was once afraid to tread.
Back in 2016, Trump was supposed to be one of the GOP presidential candidates delivering remarks at the annual gathering of conservatives but he eventually withdrew over his campaigns fear of facing a hostile crowd. While almost all of the other candidates appeared and made their pitch for support from the gathered activists (even Jeb Bush showed up), candidate Trump decided to appear elsewhere in front of a more supportive audience. However, after winning election in 2016, Trump proudly appeared at CPAC 2017, where he was warmly embraced by a once skeptical audience.
Now in 2018 and the CPAC convention could have been renamed the “Trump Convention” as the vast majority of attendees no longer debated philosophical conservatism but instead focused on how to better support the President.
During his speech the President discussed the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida and the possibility of dropping new sanctions on the evil North Korean regime.
We’ve all come a long way together. We’ve come a long way together. I’m thrilled to be back at CPAC, with so many of my wonderful friends and amazing supporters, and proud conservatives. (Applause.) Remember when I first started running? Because I wasn’t a politician, fortunately. But do you remember I started running and people would say, “Are you sure he’s a conservative?” I think now we’ve proved that I’m a conservative, right? (Applause.)
For more than four decades, this event has served as a forum for our nation’s top leaders, activists, writers, thinkers. Year after year, leaders have stood on this stage to discuss what we can do together to protect our heritage, to promote our culture, and to defend our freedom.
CPAC has always been about big ideas and it’s also been about putting those ideas into action. And CPAC really has put a lot of ideas into action. We’ll talk about some of them this morning.
For the last year, with your help, we have put more great conservative ideas into use than perhaps ever before in American history. (Applause.) Right?
By the way, what a nice picture that is. Look at that. I’d love to watch that guy speak. (Laughter.) Oh, boy. That’s a — I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it. (Applause.) It doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in. We’re hanging in. We’re hanging in there, right? Together, we’re hanging in.
We’ve confirmed a record number — so important — of circuit court judges, and we are going to be putting in a lot more. (Applause.) And they will interpret the law as written. And we’ve confirmed an incredible new Supreme Court justice, a great man, Neil Gorsuch. (Applause.) Right?
We’ve passed massive — biggest in history — tax cuts and reforms. (Applause.) You know, I don’t use the word “reform.” There was a lot of reform, too. Very positive reform. I don’t use it. And when we were first doing it, I told everybody — everybody gathered — I said, “Just talk about tax cuts. People don’t know what reform means. They think reform might mean it’s going up.” And I said, “Do tax cuts.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
AUDIENCE: Booo —
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. How did he get in here, Matt? Boy. Okay. Just for the media, the fake news back there, they took very good care of him. They were very gentle. (Laughter.) He was very obnoxious. It was only one person.
So we have thousands of people here. (Applause.) So listen — tomorrow, the headline will be, “Protestors disturbed the Trump…” — one person, folks. Doesn’t deserve a mention. Doesn’t deserve a headline. The headline tomorrow: “Disrupters of CPAC.” One person. And he was very nice — we looked at him, and he immediately left. Okay. (Laughter and applause.)
No, I’ve had it too often. You’ll have one person, and you can hardly even hear him. In fact, the biggest, really, disturbance are you people. You know why? He’ll say something; nobody hears him. Because it’s all — and then the crowd will start screaming at him. And then all of a sudden we stop for — and that’s okay. You have to show your spirit, right? You have to show your spirit. It’s true. (Applause.)
So we passed the biggest tax cuts in the history of our country. And it was called “tax cut and reform.” And I said to our people, don’t use the word “reform.” Because we were going to call it the “Tax Reform Act.” I said, “No wonder for 45 years nothing has been passed.” Because people want tax cuts, and they don’t know what reform means. Reform can mean you’re going to pay more tax. So I convinced politicians who have done this all their lives — and they do a great job, in many cases — but this was one — they were going, the “Tax Reform Act” of whatever year we want to put. Okay?
So they have the Tax Reform Act, and that was it. And now it was called the Tax Act — Tax Cut Act and Jobs. We had to add “jobs” into it because we’re picking up a tremendous number of jobs — 2.7 million jobs since the election. 2.7. (Applause.)
So now people hear tax cuts, and it has been popular. Remember, it started off a little slow. Then it got passed, and we had some great help. I will say, we had some great help in the Senate, in the House. We have guys here today — we have a lot of congressmen, we have a lot of senators. We had a lot of help. And we got it passed.
Just — it was not easy. We didn’t have one Democrat vote, and I think that’s going to cost them in the midterms. I know that whoever wins the presidency has a disadvantage, for whatever reason, in the midterms. You know what happens? I’m trying to figure it out. Because historically, if you win the presidency, you don’t do well two years later. And you know what? We can’t let that happen. (Applause.) And I know what happens. I finally figured it out. Nobody has been able to explain it. It just happens, statistically, almost all of the time for many years.
What happens is, you fight so hard to win the presidency. You fight, fight, fight. And now only two years — that’s a very short period. And by the time you start campaigning, it’s a year. And now you got to go and fight again. But you just won. So nobody has that same drive that they had. So you end up not doing that well because the other side is going — they’re crazed. And, by the way, they’re crazed anyway, these people. They are really crazed. (Laughter and applause.) Right?