One thing about Donald Trump: he knows how to entertain a crowd.
The hair-challenged gazillionaire blew into Washington to address the CPAC gathering on Friday, knowing full well he needed an act to compete with the likes of Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin.
And he’s no apprentice when it comes to getting folks fired up.
It was Republicans who bore the brunt of his rhetorical blasts. In a speech that channeled a no holds-barred talk radio rant, Trump said the party appears to be on a “suicide mission.” While he said he “loved” the Tea Party, but that most members opposing the GOP’s efforts to cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
But this is Trump, and what began as a serious (zzzz) speech soon turned into a series of stream-of-consciousness slams and over-the-top jokes.
Here, for instance, is Trump’s foreign policy: Since the U.S. spent $1.5 trillion and lost thousands of lives during the war in Iraq, “We should take the oil and pay ourselves back…What the hell were we thinking?” Um, that would go over well.
Not that anyone is accusing CPAC of turning into a clown show, but Chris Christie isn’t welcome and The Donald is? Seriously?
Trump took on what he called the country’s “11 million illegals,” saying that once they get the right to vote, “every one” of them will vote Democratic. Trump offered no solution, but said he has friends whose well educated kids study here but cannot settle in this country.
“How stupid is that—top of their class at Harvard and they get thrown out,” he said.
Trump sprayed all kinds of targets in rapid-fire fashion, decrying our “total mess” and ‘laughingstock” of a country run by “very foolish or very stupid people.”
On Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who said Republicans are acting like the Stupid Party?: “What a horrible statement,” Trump said. “That’s a statement that’s going to come back to haunt you.”
On Karl Rove, whose American Crossroads spent $400 million on campaign ads?: “They did ads on Obama that I thought were being paid for by the Obama campaign.”
Oh, and don’t forget the press: President Obama is getting “sadly unprecedented media protection. It’s absolutely incredible.”
This is the guy--adored by many on the right--who danced around running for president and instead spent most of 2012 sticking it to Obama any way he could. First he accused him of not being born in Hawaii, riding a birther wave and demanding to see the president’s birth certificate—prompting Obama to release the long-form certificate and mock Trump at a Washington dinner. On Election Night, Trump called Obama’s victory a "sham" and a "travesty." And just the other day he offered to finance the White House public tours that Obama cancelled as part of the automatic federal budget cuts (an offer he renewed on Friday).
Let's not forget Trump suing Bill Maher over a supposed $5-million dollar bet in which the comedian demanded he proved he is not an orangutan.
Yet with CPAC as his latest stage, his animal magnetism came through loud and clear.
Trump’s prescription for just about everything was to build a better economy by—get this—following his example.
“I’ve made over $8 billion,” he told the crowd. Yet “I’m continually criticized by total lightweights all over the place.”
Aw, poor guy.
It had nothing to do with anything except toot his own horn, but Trump boasted that he just bought Miami’s Doral Country Club and is going to “make it incredible.”
I’m sorry, but how exactly are lower and middle class workers out of jobs supposed to relate to that?
Trump said he liked Mitt Romney, but “Mitt made one mistake—he didn’t talk enough about his success.” Read: I’m rich and I’m not going to let you forget it.
We have heard countless times on cable TV - from Republicans and Democrats alike - that Trump is deemed an embarrassment by some on the right, but he still has box-office appeal. The crowd burst into applause when he said that the US doesn’t manufacture anything anymore. “I buy all my tvs from South Korea – I just bought 3,000 units.” And, he groused that Apple builds almost all of its products in China.
Despite his appearance here in a room full of conservatives who in between speeches rock out to country music, virtually no one is taking Trump seriously as a potential candidate in 2016. But he's proven time and again that he has a mighty megaphone that can affect the race and is not afraid to use it.
His job here, as on his top-rated network TV show The Apprentice, is to help Republicans yell at Democrats, “You’re Fired.”