NATIONAL HARBOR, MD: The Final day of the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference brought the biggest of the big dogs. President Donald Trump left Vietnam early and made it back to the United States in time to address the CPAC crowd on Saturday. He was in full entertainment mode, with several twists thrown in.
In a surprising move, Trump turned historical and professorial. He invoked the great 1880 immigration and tariff debate involving President William McKinley. He even blew kisses at the crowd before announcing that,
“You know that I’m totally off script right now. This is how I got elected, by being totally off script. If we don’t go off script, our country is in big trouble.”
He referred to “the new green deal, or whatever the hell they call it.”
In a little more than two-hour speech, Trump taunts the Democrats, begging them to promote the green new deal. Begging them to keep talking about it. He joked about how the media flipped out when he made an obvious joke about Russia obtaining Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Trump made light of the Russia hoax:
The President points out that “Robert Mueller never received a vote, and neither did the person who appointed him.” Trump noted the numerous conflicts of interest of the Mueller team.
Trump joked that he could watch coverage of Mark Levin’s comments later on saying “One of the great inventions in history is Tivo.”
Trump poked fun at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “He still hasn’t gotten over getting his ass kicked.”
He lashed the Washington Post for their false coverage of crowd sizes at his rallies.
While the crowd enjoyed Trump’s remarks, it was far less fiery than his toughest speeches. Although he is the Energizer Bunny, he has to be tired from flying to Vietnam and turning right back around.
After praising Mark Levin, Trump says,
“Now let’s get back to what I’m here for.” He even jokingly implored the crowd “Don’t fall asleep.” It was his way of letting everybody know that he was wide awake.
Turning to policy, he reminded everyone about his administration’s accomplishments from cutting taxes to repealing the Obamacare mandate to drilling in ANWR. He reminded everyone that the days of American companies shipping jobs to Mexico without consequences were over.
Conversely, his mention of building the wall was surprisingly brief.
The biggest surprise of Trump’s speech was what it lacked: controversy.
It was not only non-controversial by Trump standards, but by any standard. On more than one occasion he joked that First Lady Melania Trump wanted him to avoid saying certain words. Alternatively, it is hard to create controversy when talking about important but dry subjects such as reciprocal taxation and Federal Reserve quantitative tightening.
Even when ridiculing environmentalists, he offered the cerebral argument of how their regulations exacerbated the wildfires.
Controlled burns do not make for sexy remarks, but it matters.
He did get in a few more new one-liners.
He said that everyone was doing great in the country
“except for the Never-Trumpers. They are on life support. They need mouth to mouth resuscitation.”
He referenced his spending Thanksgiving in the White House during the government shutdown.
“I had cabin fever in the White House. If you have to have cabin fever, that’s the place to do it.”
Referencing his Secret Service protection at the White House, Trump remarks,
“I’ve never seen so many beautiful looking machine guns.”
The White House was built in 1799, but to Chinese President Xi,
“that is like a brand new house.”
He made a celebrity out of a soldier named “Raisin Cane.”
Trump paid a heartfelt tribute to his late father Fred Trump, saying his dad would say “Nobody ever got rich sitting behind a desk.” Which explains President Trump’s intense work ethic. Whether it is a trip to Iraq or a visit to a construction site, there is no substitute for showing up and surveying situations for yourself.
Staying in the office does not get the job done.
Making Everyone at CPAC 2019 the Hero of the Conservative Movement
President Trump does not just give a speech, he speaks to the people there. He recognizes the organizers and the future of the Conservative Party. Pointing out Candace Owen, Charlie Kirk, and Hayden Williams, a field representative for the Leadership Institute, who was on campus helping to recruit students to join Turning Points USA.
The President told the crowd, and Hayden, that he would be signing an executive order removing federal funding from any school that does not protect the free speech of all students. He then joked that Williams will be a very wealthy man after he sues the school, his assailant and the state.
As Nick Sandmann has taught us, conservatism needs to fight back where it hurts the most. The wallet.
He brought things to a conclusion with a stinging rebuke of socialism, in keeping with a major theme of CPAC 2019. Capitalism, freedom and liberty work.
Trump’s remarks fit in perfectly with what CPAC and are what conservatism is all about.
Keywords: President at CPAC 2019, President Donald J. Trump, CPAC 2019, Conservative Political Action Committee, Eric Golub