By Ben Kamisar
Tea Party leader: Trump a wolf in sheep's clothing
Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin on Friday slammed Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMajority of Democrats want third term for Obama Former CIA chief shuts down Trump's calls for waterboarding Why some Republican women won't be voting for Trump MORE at a major conservative gathering, assailing him as a wolf in sheep's clothing.
"Donald Trump has no business thinking he is Tea Party," she told a cheering audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference in suburban Washington.
"Trump is about love of himself. But the Tea Party is about love of country and the love of our Constitution."
Trump has faced significant pushback from members of the party's establishment, embodied by a Thursday speech by 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Romney cast Trump as a fraudulent conservative while warning his nomination would set the party back.
But Martin's pitch comes from the party's right flank, a segment of the electorate that has so far flocked to Trump in droves.
He won among those who consider themselves "very conservative" in many of his Super Tuesday victories despite questions from some about his adherence to conservative principles.
Martin bashed Trump's recent call to "open up" libel laws as a direct affront to the Constitution and ticked off a laundry list of issues on which Trump previously held a more liberal position.
"Yes, he's inconsistent if you look at all the issues he flip-flops on. But if you look at his motivation for taking those positions, you will see in fact a remarkable consistency. It's the consistency of serving his own interests," she said.
"You can always count on this. On any given issue at any given time, Donald Trump will take the position that he perceives will serve his interests at that given time."