President Trump gave a rousing speech to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference of the American Conservative Union today, where he was interrupted multiple times by cheers and chanting. Giving assurances of his solidarity with conservatives, Trump said, "All of these years we've been together and now you finally have a president, finally." This was the fifth time Trump has addressed the meeting. Trump was absent from the 2016 CPAC, thus generating barbs from his Republican primary opponents.
At his Friday appearance, Trump said, "I would have come last year but I was worried that I'd be at that time too controversial." The crowd cheered him as he said, "We wanted border security, we wanted very, very strong military. We wanted all of the things that we're going to get, and people consider that controversial, but you didn't consider it controversial." Trump also renewed his criticisms of the media, which followed his recent assertion that "fake news" is the "enemy of the people." He said, "I'm against the people that make up stories and make up sources."
Trump added, "They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there." "I want you all to know that we are fighting the fake news," said Trump. "It's fake, phony, fake." Referring to a tweet he posted a week ago, which said the "fake news media… is the enemy of the American people," the president said that he was mischaracterized by the media. “In covering my comments, the dishonest media did not explain that I called the fake news the enemy of the people. The fake news," said Trump. "They dropped off the word fake. And all of a sudden, the story became, the media is the enemy. They take the word 'fake' out."
A Washington Post article covering the event was entitled: “Donald Trump’s speech proves it: He’s totally obsessed with the media.”
Excerpt of Trump’s speech:
“Well, you have a lot of them. Look, the Clinton News Network is one. “Totally. Take a look. Honestly. Take a look, honestly. Take a look at polls over the last two years. Now you'd think they would fire the pollster, right? After years and years of getting battered, but I -- who knows, maybe they are just bad at polling or maybe they're not legit, but it's one or the other, look at how inaccurate -- look at CBS, look at ABC, also, look at NBC, take a look at some of these polls.
"They're so bad, so inaccurate and what that does is it creates a false narrative. “It creates like this narrative that is just like we're not going to win, people say, I love Trump, but you know, I'm not feeling great today, he can't win, so I won't go and vote. I won't go and vote. It creates a whole false deal. And we have to fight it, folks, we have to fight it. They're very smart, they're very cunning and they're very dishonest.”
Trump gave his first speech at CPAC in 2011, where he floated the possibility of a run for the 2012 Republican nomination, a race ultimately won by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "America today is missing quality leadership and foreign countries have quickly realized this," said Trump in 2011.
Trump said on Friday that following Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Democratic primary defeat to Hillary Clinton, some of Sanders' supporters came over to the Trump side. It is a movement, he said, “And you're going to see it more and more. So we're all part of this very historic movement, a movement the likes of which, actually, the world has never seen before. There's never been anything like this. There's been some movements, but there's never been anything like this.”
Saying that Clinton’s primary victory was “rigged,” Trump said that Sanders was “right on one issue: trade,” and thus prompted Sanders’ supporters to vote for Trump. “He was right about trade. Our country is being absolutely devastated with bad trade deals. So he was right about that, but we got a lot of Bernie support. So actually, I like Bernie. OK? I like Bernie.”
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.