The top 9 moments from Trump’s two-hour CPAC speech

President Trump delivered a freewheeling speech Saturday at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference that often veered off script and hit on a slew of familiar themes as the White House gears up for the 2020 election.

Trump spoke to a rapt audience at the largest annual conservative summit in an address that featured invectives against the president’s political enemies, several standing ovations and little daylight between the White House and its base. 

{mosads}Here are the top nine moments from Trump’s address.

1. Trump jokes about Russia, Clinton’s emails
Trump suggested he was joking when he said during the 2016 campaign that he hoped Russia would find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails, sparking familiar “Lock her up” chants.

“I’ve learned, because with the fake news, if you tell a joke, if you’re sarcastic, if you’re having fun with the audience,” he said, “If you say something like ‘Russia, please if you can, get us Hillary Clinton’s emails, please, Russia, please, please get us the emails.’ ” 

The president was referencing a July 2016 news conference in which he said, “Russia, if you are listening, I hope you are able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by the press.”

Russian operatives made their first attempt to hack Clinton’s servers that same day, according to an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller.

2. Trump slams “little shifty Schiff”
The president also went after House Democrats’ widespread investigations into his campaign and finances, singling out House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

“There’s no collusion, so now they go and morph into ‘let’s inspect every deal he’s ever done,’ ” he said. “These people are sick.”{mossecondads}

“I saw little shifty Schiff yesterday,” Trump added. “He went into a meeting and he said, ‘We’re going to look into his finances.’ I said ‘Where did that come from? He always talked about Russia.’ ”

Schiff’s committee is already conducting its own probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016 and announced last month it would expand its probe into Trump’s personal finances.

Other House committees are conducting their own investigations and hearings into Trump, and special counsel Robert Mueller is expected to conclude his own collusion probe in the coming weeks.

3. Trump defends emergency declaration
Trump defended his widely criticized emergency declaration he made last month, saying the nation faces a national security crisis at the southern border. 

“A lot of people talk about precedent. Precedent. That if we do this, the Democrats will use national emergency powers for something that we don’t want,” he said. “They’re going to do that anyway, folks. The best way to stop that is to make sure I win the election.” 

“I’m very concerned with having murderers and drug traffickers and drugs and drug cartels pouring into our country.”

The comments came after the House of Representatives passed a bill to overturn the emergency declaration, which the Senate will soon be forced to vote on as well. The GOP controls the upper chamber by a 53-47 majority, though three Republicans have already said they will support Democrats, meaning only one more defection is needed to pass the bill in the Senate, likely setting up a veto from the White House.

4. Trump addressed the fallout over Otto Warmbier comments
Trump addressed the controversy over his comments earlier this week saying he took North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at his word that he was unaware of the circumstances around U.S. student Otto Warmbier.

“We got our great, great people, and that includes our beautiful, beautiful Otto. Otto Warmbier, whose parents I’ve gotten to know, who’s incredible,” Trump said.

“And I’m in such a horrible position, because in one way I have to negotiate, in the other way, I love Mr. and Mrs. Warmbier, and I love Otto. And it’s a very, very delicate balance. He was a special young man that to see what happened, so bad, it was so bad.”

Warmbier was detained in North Korea and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly taking a poster while he was visiting there in 2016. The student was returned to the United States in a vegetative state in 2017 and died shortly after.

Trump sparked outrage earlier this week when he said Kim told him he was unaware of Warmbier’s circumstances and “I take him at his word.” 

He was later forced to backtrack, saying he was being “misinterpreted” and “of course” blames North Korea for Warmbier’s death.

5. Trump attacks Democrats over “socialism”
The president excoriated Democrats for what he says is an embrace of socialism, citing new policies like “Medicare for all” and the “Green New Deal,” which is spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and seeks to combat climate change by investing in eco-friendly jobs. 

“Socialism is not about the environment, it’s not about justice, it’s not about virtue. Socialism is about only one thing: it’s called power for the ruling class,” Trump said. “All of us are here today because we know that the future does not belong to those who believe in socialism.” 

“The future belongs to those who believe in freedom … America will never be a socialist country,” he added, sparking “USA!” chants. “We believe in the American dream, not the socialist nightmare.”

Republicans throughout the four-day conference slammed Democrats over policies they said were evidence of an already creeping form of socialism, continuing an effort to open up a new culture war front to gin up its base after a midterm election cycle that saw steep House losses. 

6. Trump will soon sign a free speech executive order
Trump announced he will soon sign an executive order mandating colleges and universities guarantee free speech to attain federal research grants. 

The announcement came after the president brought Hayden Williams on stage. Williams, a Republican activist, sparked outcry among conservatives after a video surfaced of him being punched in the face while assisting a right-wing student group on the University of California at Berkeley campus.

“We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas. These ideas are dangerous,” Trump said. “Instead we believe in free speech, including online and including on campus.” 

“If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak. Free speech. If they don’t, it will be very costly,” he warned.

7. Trump mocked Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) as “crazy”
The president attacked Hirono as a “crazy female senator” over her comments about men and her support for the Green New Deal.

“The crazy female senator from the state of Ohio,” he said, before correcting to Hawaii. “She’s like a crazed person. What she said about men is so bad.”

Hirono said in September that men should “shut up and step up” in light of sexual misconduct allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“Guess who is perpetrating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country,” Hirono said. “I just want to say to the men in this country: Just shut up and step up. Do the right thing, for a change.”

The Hawaii Democrat is also a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate despite early opposition after an early draft of the plan proposed building high-speed rail to a degree that air travel “stops becoming necessary.” 

8. Trump mocks former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s accent
Trump mocked his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, imitating the Alabamian’s Southern accent while berating him over his decision to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 

“And the attorney general says ‘I’m gonna recuse myself,’ ” Trump said as the crowd booed.

The president has repeatedly upbraided Sessions for the decision, saying he never would have picked the former senator as attorney general if he had known Sessions intended to recuse himself from the inquiry. 

9. Trump came on stage hugging the American flag
Ever the showman, Trump walked onstage to “God Bless the U.S.A.” and stopped to embrace the American flag. 

Trump called attendees at the summit “patriots” and said they are “reclaiming our nation’s priceless heritage, reversing decades of blunders and betrayals by the failed ruling class.”

Tags Adam Schiff Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Brett Kavanaugh Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Jeff Sessions Mazie Hirono Robert Mueller

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