National Harbor, MD - “I think now we’ve proved that I’m a conservative,” President Trump told the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday before listing off several of his administration’s first-year accomplishments.
The president noted his “record number” of appointed judges, as well as his confirmed conservative Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. He then remarked on how 2.7 million jobs have been created since he took office and that he signed the largest tax cuts in the nation’s history, giving the crowd some insight into how he got Congress to change the bill’s title.
Trump told the GOP to avoid using the phrase “reform” because “nobody knows what that means.” Instead, he suggested calling it a tax cut. He “convinced” the politicians to change the language from the Tax Reform Act to the Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
Other big standing ovations occurred when Trump pledged to defend Americans’ Second Amendment rights and when he mentioned how he authorized the U.S. embassy move in Israel to Jerusalem.
His effort to cut regulations was another crowd pleaser.
“No president has ever cut so many regulations in their entire term,” he continued. His administration has ended the war on energy and “beautiful, clean coal.”
Trump went off teleprompter several times throughout the speech, a phenomenon he explained by noting the speech would be “boring” otherwise.
One of those spontaneous moments came when he got a glimpse of himself on the big screen.
“Hey isn’t that a great picture,” he joked. “I love to watch that guy talk.”
He then turned around, patted his hair down, and admitted to the crowd, “I try like hell to hide that bald spot.”
Another unexpected interruption came when a protester started shouting at him. The young man was swiftly removed by security and shouted out by Trump supporters chanting, “USA!”
Despite the brief disturbance, Trump predicted that the media would largely focus on the incident in their CPAC coverage. The protester was just one person, Trump said, he "doesn’t deserve a mention."
When Trump got back into his speech, he talked immigration. Sensing the crowd’s anticipation, Trump skipped ahead to the main part of his remarks: “Don’t worry, you’re getting the wall.”
"I want people coming into this country based on merit," he later said, to more applause.
The president got somber when he mentioned the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last week. We need to stop advertising our schools gun-free zones, he said.
“Why do we protect our banks and our government buildings, but not our schools?” he asked.
“It’s time to make schools a much harder target” for criminals, he said.
Give out concealed carry permits, Trump suggested, because “it would be a major deterrent” to criminals.
“A teacher would have shot the hell out of him,” he mused, suggesting how the Marjory Stoneman shooter could have been subdued before he gunned down 17 people.
Other topics Trump touched upon were his rejection of the Iran Deal, and his plan to crack down on sanctuary cities - both ideas that were also very popular with the CPAC audience.
The biggest applause? When Trump said, “We’ve got seven years to go, folks.”