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Trump appeals to conservatives at CPAC, vows to keep campaign promises

Trump at CPAC

President Trump returned to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday after skipping the event last year in order to campaign in Kansas during the presidential primary season.

For the first half of the speech, Mr. Trump bashed what he called “the dishonest press” and said that “fake news” is “the enemy of the people.” 

“They have no sources, they just make it up,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he’s “not against” the media or the press and that he doesn’t mind bad stories about him.

In CPAC speech, Trump runs into trouble with facts again

He then went on to discuss his election victory last November and outlined all of the policy promises he intends to keep as president. He discussed his plan to dismantle Obamacare, lower taxes for the middle class, rebuild the military, build a border wall and deport “bad dudes” from the U.S.

“By stopping the flow of illegal immigration, we will save countless tax dollars,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re not coming back in, folks.”

Mr. Trump was a popular speaker at the conference in 2011 -- his speech then showcased similar themes to the ones he ran on in 2016 - specifically, making the country great again.

The president was preceded at the conference by members of his staff and Cabinet Thursday, including top White House strategist Steve Bannon and his chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

Trump pushed "America First" agenda, bashes media in CPAC speech

Bannon told the gathering that the three big-picture areas where Mr. Trump has been acting are “national security and sovereignty,” “economic nationalism,” and “deconstruction of the administrative state.” And he had more to say about the relationship between the White House and the press, predicting, “It’s not going to get better -- it’s going to get worse every day.” He went on to say of the “corporatist, globalist media” that it’s “adamantly opposed to a economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has.”

Before his appearance at the confab, Mr. Trump slammed the FBI on Twitter for failing to track down leakers, after CNN reported Thursday night that the FBI had rejected a recent request from the White House to publicly dismiss reports that Mr. Trump’s associates had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence during his presidential campaign. 

Check out live updates from his speech below. 


11:09 a.m. His speech has ended.

11:04 a.m. The president said that the GOP will be the party “of the American worker.” He said that the party has gotten so much bigger over the last election cycle. 

“We have an amazing, strong, powerful party that truly does want to see America be great again,” he said. 

He said he wants to thank the evangelical community, Christian community, rabbis, priests and communities of faith.

10:57 a.m. “Take a look at what’s happening to our world, folks,” he said. “We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.” 

Mr. Trump said that in a matter of days he will be taking “brand new action” to keep the American safe. He’s likely referring to his revised travel ban, which is expected next week.

“The security of our people is number one,” he said. 

“By the way, we will protect our Second Amendment,” he said, which drew loud cheers.

The president brought up Hillary Clinton and the crowd started chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!”

10:50 a.m. The president said he has begun a historic program to get rid of regulations that are crushing the economy and jobs. 

“We are going to put the regulations industry out of business,” he said. 

He said he is going to “massively lower taxes for the middle class” and make it much more simple for the people and businesses.

“It’s time for all Americans to get off of welfare and get back to work. You’re gonna love it!” he said. “We’re also going to put in a budget request for our beloved military and we will be substantially upgrading all of our military -- offensive, defense, everything. Bigger and better and stronger than ever before.” 

“Nobody’s going to mess with us, folks, nobody,” he said. “It will be one of the greatest military buildups in American history.” 

He said that the Pentagon is coming up with a plan to “totally obliterate ISIS.”

10:43 a.m. The president that he has taken “swift and strong action” to secure the southern border and to begin the construction of a “great, great border wall.” 

“By stopping the flow of illegal immigration, we will save countless tax dollars,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re not coming back in, folks.”

He said that he is working with the Department of Justice to begin reducing violent crime like shootings in Chicago. 

Mr. Trump said he has authorized the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines and has issued a rule for them to use American steel only.

“We’re going to put our miners back to work,” he said. 

10:39 a.m. Mr. Trump claimed that he “inherited a mess” and inherited a failed healthcare system. 

“Now, I’ve been watching, and nobody says it, but Obamacare doesn’t work,” he said. 

The president said that angry constituents at town halls lately are from “the side that lost.” 

“So, we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare,” he said. “And I tell Paul Ryan and all of the folks that we’re working with very hard, Dr. Tom Price, very talented guy, but I tell them that purely from a political standpoint is nothing...let it implode completely.” 

The president said that the Democrats will come to Republicans and “beg” for help. He said he inherited a national debt that has doubled in eight years and has inherited a foreign policy marked by disaster.

10:36 a.m. The president said that he needs to define the movement behind him and that the U.S. is a nation “that puts its own citizens first,” which led to the crowd erupting in chants of “USA! USA! USA!”

“For too long, we traded away our jobs to other countries -- so terrible,” Mr. Trump said. “We’re gonna build the wall, don’t worry about it...in fact, it’s going to start soon, way ahead of schedule.”

The president said that, “We are getting the bad ones out -- these are bad dudes...whether it’s drug or murder.” 

“Basically, what I’ve done is keep my promise,” he said.

10:32 a.m. “Nobody loves the First Amendment better than me,” Mr. Trump said, which he said gives him the right to “criticize fake news strongly.” 

“The fake news doesn’t tell the truth,” he said. “It doesn’t represent the people. It never will represent the people. We’re going to do something about it.” 

Mr. Trump said that his victory was dedicated to a country and people who believe in “freedom, security and the rule of law.” He said his victory was a victory to “stand up for the American flag,” which drew loud cheers from the audience.

“By the way, we love our flag,” he said. “There is such love for everything we stand for.” 

The president said that he likes Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont. 

10:25 a.m. Mr. Trump told the audience that they finally have a president: “It took you a long time.” 

“You want to make America great again,” he said. “The media didn’t think we would win. The pundits didn’t think we’d win. The consultants that suck up all that money...they totally underestimated the power of the people.” 

“Never underestimate the people, never,” he said. “I don’t think it will ever happen again.”

The president said that the administration is “the fake news” and called it “the enemy of the people.”

“They have no sources, they just make it up,” Mr. Trump said, adding that he’s “not against” the media or the press and that he doesn’t mind bad stories about him.

The president said that the press shouldn’t be able to use anonymous sources and should only use sources who can speak on the record. Mr. Trump said that polls from CBS, ABC, NBC are inaccurate and claimed that they “create a false narrative.”

10:21 a.m. The president arrives on stage and says it’s “great to be back at CPAC...I love this place, love you people.” 

“I wouldn’t miss a chance to talk to my friends -- these are my friends,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ll see you again next year, and the year after that. I’ll be doing this with CPAC whenever I can.”

Mr. Trump said the “dishonest media” will say “he never got a standing ovation” because he said everybody stood and no one sat.

“They are the worst,” he said. 

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