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Trump rails against rivals at conservative conference CPAC

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President Trump was in his element Saturday afternoon speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference, one of the largest gatherings of his supporters in the country. 

Mr. Trump began his speech by railing against common enemies like the "fake news" and "crooked politicians," and complained he was being treated poorly by his political enemies. He joked he had promised to be nice in his speech, but "only a fool is nice when they treat you so badly."

Mr. Trump touted his administration's accomplishments, such as the strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani in January. "We took that son of a b**** out," he said. He compared watching the mission of the strike that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to watching a movie. Mr. Trump's speech also mentioned the peace agreement signed with Taliban militants on Saturday, aimed at bringing an end to the nearly two-decade conflict in Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump also praised his administration's response to the spread of coronavirus, including new travel restrictions that he announced hours early. He criticized Democrats for not giving his administration enough credit for its response to the coronavirus, but then said Congress needed to work together on a bipartisan basis to address the threat.

Mr. Trump also targeted the Democratic candidates, particularly Michael Bloomberg and Elizabeth Warren.

"We've got some beauties: We've got Sleepy Joe, we've got Crazy Bernie, we've got Mini Mike," Mr. Trump said, slamming Bloomberg's debate performance. Referring to Warren criticizing Bloomberg at the debate, Mr. Trump said: "Pocahontas destroyed him."

Mr. Trump imitated Bloomberg's diminutive stature, crouching down behind his podium to cheers and applause from the audience.

He also mentioned that Biden was likely to win South Carolina in tonight's primary.

"He's gonna have a pretty big win today," Mr. Trump said. "How the hell does that happen?"

In many ways, Mr. Trump's speech was a replay of his greatest hits, going after frequent targets like James Comey and Robert Mueller before an enthusiastic audience. He touted the confirmation of two conservative Supreme Court justices during his first term.

CPAC, a decades-old gathering of conservatives, has increasingly become a Trump-centered operation, focusing not so much on the traditional conservative ideas of limited government or individual responsibility, but on Mr. Trump and his agenda. 

This year's CPAC features sessions titled "The Coup: The Day After Tomorrow," "The Coup: Rosenstein and Comey," and a play entitled "FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers," with people playing FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

Senator Mitt Romney of Utah is persona non grata at the conference this year. He was disinvited after he was the lone Republican to vote to remove Mr. Trump from office in the Senate impeachment trial. Mr. Trump called Romney a "lowlife" during his speech before CPAC.

American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, a prominent supporter of Mr. Trump, mocked Romney on Thursday.

"Not having Romney at CPAC worked out just fine," he said, to cheers. Congressman Mark Meadows, who was onstage with Schlapp chimed in, too: "So, you mean they would rather have Donald Trump here than Mitt Romney?"

In recent years, the president has used CPAC to riff on his favorite topics before a friendly crowd. He's sure to hit on a favorite theme for the Republican Party, particularly now that Senator Bernie Sanders is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination. Last year, Mr. Trump told the CPAC crowd, "America will never be a socialist country."

Mr. Trump's CPAC address this year comes hours before the polls close in the Democratic primary South Carolina.

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