When the lineup of speakers for CPAC 2013 was announced, perhaps the biggest surprise was a prime speaking slot for the reliably unhinged Donald Trump. After the birther conspiracy theorist’s odd, rambling, speech Friday, it’s a safe bet that he won’t be asked back any time soon.
After beginning by warning that “The Republican Party is in serious trouble,” Trump repeatedly trashed the GOP.
“As Republicans, if you think you’re going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in any substantial way and at the same time you think you’re going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen,” Trump lectured.
Trump also attacked Republicans’ work in the 2012 campaign at length. “When you spend $400 million and it’s a failure and you don’t have one victory, you know something is seriously, seriously wrong,” Trump said of Karl Rove’s American Crossroads. He went on to claim that “if Mitt Romney made one mistake, it’s that he didn’t talk enough about his success.”
Trump also discussed immigration reform, insisting that creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is a “suicide mission.”
“Every one of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic. It’s just the way it works,” Trump said. When it comes to European immigrants, however, Trump could not have sung a more different tune. “Why aren’t we letting people in from Europe?” Trump asked, noting that he has friends who sent their sons to Harvard and Wharton School of Business, but then had to leave the country.
Predictably, most of Trump’s speech focused on his favorite subject: Donald Trump. At various points he boasted he single-handedly turned around the Doral resort in Miami, that his “friends” in OPEC — which includes Venezuela and Iran — have given him special insight into U.S. foreign policy, and that he filed a financial statement in 2012 showing that he’s made over $8 billion (a bold-faced lie).
In perhaps the oddest moment in the strange speech, Trump suggested that “the problem with the country” is that the Obama administration turned down his offer to build a $100 million ballroom at the White House.
Although Trump did receive a few bursts of laughter and applause, the “crowd” of conservative activists sat through long stretches of his address in uncomfortable silence:
Trump’s speech can be seen in its entirety below: