If you stare too long into the abyss, you are probably at CPAC
— Alkali ?? (@alkali19) February 23, 2018
Trump recalls when he started running for president and people doubted his conservatism. "I think now we've proved that I'm a conservative." CPAC crowd cheers.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 23, 2018
Save this tape for the inevitable moment a few years from now when conservatives insist he had nothing to do with them. https://t.co/BjjpA0eHtq
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) February 23, 2018
Look, I try not to overwhelm y’all with the far-fringe ‘Wanna See Me Eat A Bug?’ performers like Dinesh D’Souza, Charlie Kirk, and Gary ‘What Is Aleppo?’ Johnson. But in the decade or so since I first discovered CPAC (through Dave Weigel’s then-hilarious reports), it’s become increasingly clear that this year’s rabid hate-monger at CPAC is next year’s high-paid mainstream media figure — or even presidential candidate. It’s like screening for skin cancer; you don’t have to admire those weird scaly lumps and unhealing scabs, but you need to know about them.
Dan Dale, continuing his yeoman work for Toronto’s The Star:
Early in U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech Friday to the Conservative Political Action Conference, he paused to ask the audience a question.
His prepared text, he said, was “a little boring.” Would they mind if he went “off script a little bit”?
In truth, he had not been very on-script even before that. What followed the crowd’s endorsement, though, was the kind of rambling, inflammatory, oft-inaccurate, and captivating discursion he performed at his 2016 campaign rallies…
It is impossible to do the speech justice by summarizing a few key points. Here is a minute-by-minute account of what happened:
10:17 a.m. — Trump notes that he once faced skepticism about his conservative credentials. “I think now we’ve proved that I’m a conservative, right?”
The audience applauds heartily.
10:18 — Trump notices his image on a big screen to the left of the stage. He gives himself a compliment.
“By the way, what a nice picture that is. Look at that. I’d love to watch that guy speak.”
People laugh. Then he turns around and pats his hair. Then he does some rare self-deprecation.
“That’s a — I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks. I work hard at it. It doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in.”…
10:24 — Trump reiterates his theory of midterm elections: happy supporters of the president are less motivated to vote, “so you end up not doing that well because the other side is going — they’re crazed.” He adds that his opponents are “crazed anyway, these people.” He tells his supporters, “Don’t be complacent.”
10:28 — Trump says “somebody got on television recently” and said Trump “may be the only person that actually fulfilled more promises than he made.”
He was the one who said this on television recently.
10:29 — Trump says, “We have a very crooked media. We had a crooked candidate, too, by the way.” He is, of course, referring to Clinton, whom he beat 15 months prior.
A group of students starts a “lock her up” chant.
Trump continues: “Boy, have they committed a lot of atrocities when you look.”
He does not say who “they” are.
10:30 — Trump mocks Sen. John McCain, who is home dealing with brain cancer, for his vote against the repeal of Obamacare.
“Except for one senator, who came into a room at 3 o’clock in the morning and went like that” — he mimicked McCain’s thumbs-down gesture — “we would have had health-care, too.”
The crowd boos the party icon. Trump continues the mockery.
“I don’t want to be controversial, so I won’t use his name,” he says. “OK?” …