r960-fe3a229d77a02a6f4fb272460585ec68.jpg


President Trump’s journey to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday will bring full circle a political journey that started six years earlier with the provocative speech he delivered to the same crowd.

CPAC helped propel Trump from reality-TV stardom to the realm of Republican politics in 2011 when he used his a last-minute appearance at CPAC to debut the rough draft of what would ultimately become his winning presidential platform.

Although Trump had publicly flirted with the idea of entering politics since the late 1980s, his appearance at CPAC provided the first hint of his interest in seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Just six years later, Trump returns to the CPAC stage on Friday with his party at a high-water mark and his supporters anxious for progress. After spending the past eight CPACs lamenting Democrats’ hold on the government, the conservative activists who frequent the conference are ready to see their years-long struggle for power bear fruit, and it’s up to Trump to make it happen.

Mark Serrano, a Republican strategist, said Trump’s first CPAC appearance provided an early taste of the candor and populism that would propel him to the presidency years later.

“That demonstrated that he really was laying the groundwork in his own mind, back then,” Serrano said of the speech. “Trump addressed CPAC that year because he was holding open the option of running for president in 2012. It wasn’t quite so obvious at the time that he meant it, that he was serious.”

“In political history, in 2011, that speech really was the start of it all,” Serrano added.

Trump declined to enter the fray that year, ultimately renewing his contract for NBC’s “The Apprentice” and endorsing Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination.

But the frustration with former President Barack Obama that Trump expressed in 2011 never dissipated.

Trump signals he's backing away from ethanol mandate

Also from the Washington Examiner

The letter President Trump just sent to the National Ethanol Conference ought to worry Vilsack and the ethanol barons even more.

02/24/17 7:30 AM

As he announced that he was thinking about running against Obama in 2012, Trump told CPAC that he was tired of watching America get pushed around by other countries.

“I will tell you the reason I am thinking about it, is that the United States has become a whipping post for the rest of the world,” Trump said in 2011. “The world is treating us without respect, they are not treating us properly.”

Trump said he wasn’t satisfied on trade policy, and cited his desire to create “vast numbers of productive jobs,” two of the issues that became central to his victory in 2016. His position on trade was one of the most obvious and popular ways Trump broke with Republican orthodoxy on his improbable path to the presidency.

Gianno Caldwell, a GOP strategist, said warring wings of the party have come together since Trump’s first visit to CPAC.

“The difference between now and then is the GOP is united,” Caldwell said. “Anyone who says we are not could only be presenting alternative facts.”

How the 'alt-right' came to haunt conservatism

Also from the Washington Examiner

CPAC sometimes seems to attract almost as many headlines for whom it kicks out.

02/24/17 3:00 AM

The president is expected to receive a warm welcome when he returns to CPAC for the first time since 2015. Last year, Trump pulled out of the event to campaign ahead of several primary contests.

His team has already loomed large over the conference through a series of high-profile appearances on the main stage.

Two of Trump’s top advisers — Reince Priebus, White House chief of staff, and Steve Bannon, his chief strategist — projected a sense of unity and defiance from the CPAC stage on Thursday during a rare joint appearance. The two dismissed suggestions that their dramatically different backgrounds had created tensions in the West Wing, and lashed out at the media for protecting the status quo in Washington.

Priebus, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, likened his partnership with Bannon, a populist provocateur from conservative news site Breitbart, to the symbiosis that has developed between the establishment wing of the GOP and its grassroots conservative base.

“If the party and the conservative movement are together, nothing can be stopped. Steve and I know that and we live it every day,” Priebus said.

Earlier in the day, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said Trump had shaped the conservative movement so profoundly that the conference could appropriately change its name to “TPAC” — the Trump Political Action Conference.

Trump is expected to highlight some of his top priorities when he addresses CPAC Friday morning. His speech comes as congressional Republicans scramble to reach a consensus on an Obamacare replacement, tax reform and a federal budget amid fierce opposition from Democrats whose only clear objective is obstructing Trump’s efforts.

Serrano said Trump should use his speech to pressure Congress into moving on his agenda.

“We do need a reminder, broadly, that we cannot delay,” Serrano said. “We cannot allow congressional bureaucracy or other political considerations get in the way of fulfilling, you know, our agenda.”

Despite conservatives’ initial skepticism that Trump would deliver on their priorities, Serrano said Trump has proven his commitment to the ideals that drove his campaign.

“I think the president has earned the right to tell conservative activists to follow his lead or get out of the way,” Serrano said. “He has demonstrated that he will absolutely fulfill all the promises he made to the party faithful. With his Supreme Court pick, with his Cabinet nominees so far, with everything he promised, he’s followed through.”



Source link

About the Author:

Leave a Reply