NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — Nigel Farage and Dog the Bounty Hunter walk onto a boat with Republican officials and Breitbart staffers to celebrate President Donald Trump, eat a dead pig, and party with scantily clad hula dancers.
This isn’t the setup for a bad joke. It’s American political reality today.
On Friday evening at National Harbor, following the penultimate day at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference, Breitbart threw a dockside “Luau on the Potomac” party aboard a three-story boat. “Hawaiian attire optional but encouraged. Mahalo!” the friendly invitation read.
A large pig roast was the main course. The complimentary Mai Tais flowed liberally. A drug-sniffing dog stood guard, and security was reliably tight. For instance, a camera crew for Samantha Bee’s news/comedy show Full Frontal were not allowed onto the boat, and a young DC Booz Allen Hamilton employee who failed to RSVP was told to “fuck off” when he tried to get in by saying he was with CNN, which President Trump regularly brands a purveyor of “fake news.”
The live Hawaiian music and smiling, shimmying dancers were the latest Breitbart News party gimmick for CPAC. Blowout parties in years past have included a bootleg theme, and one featuring a 17-piece swing band that The Daily Caller described as having a “horny, orgy vibe.”
This year, the Breitbart party crowd was much like any of those other Breitbart parties—drunk Republican politicos, intoxicated activists, tipsy think tank dwellers, inebriated consultants, and similarly bombed journalists. People like Steve Guest, the Republican National Committee’s deputy press secretary, and Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner made the rounds to talk Trump and populism.
The only real difference was that this year the Breitbart crew returned to CPAC as victors. Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart honcho now serving as one of the most powerful people working in Trump’s inner circle, had spoken on the CPAC stage the day prior. (Bannon skipped the party.) Now more than ever, the GOP was starting to reflect and promote Breitbart’s nationalist, alt-right-friendly vision of how the party, subsumed into Trumpism, should be remade.
Guests of honor included your average happy-to-be-there right-wing celebrities and self-identifying “revolutionaries” of an energized nationalist right.
Nigel Farage, the former leader for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and prominent Brexit campaigner who was recently hired by Fox News, hopped aboard the boat with his entourage, and mingled, drank, smoked, and joked with huddles of admirers and American fellow travelers.
“It’s a revolution, is what it is,” Farage, wearing a suit and tie and a lei, told The Daily Beast, referring to international backlash to globalization and internationalism that helped pave the way for Brexit in the U.K. and a Trump administration in the U.S.
He entertained partygoers with stories of how it took him “considerable balls” to do what he did in U.K. politics, having been branded a racist and a bigot in political and media circles. He did his standard riffing on the “globalist left” and the “failure of conservative leaders” in the West, between taking iPhone selfies with excited Republican, #MAGA-hat-sporting millennials.
Farage claimed he is still in contact with the Trump White House, serving as an informal political adviser. When asked by The Daily Beast who he regularly talks to in the Trump administration and about what, Farage paused, smiled, and replied, “that’s for me to know.”
Other celeb (if we can call it that) sightings were few and far between. James O’Keefe made his usual appearance. Breitbart political editor Matt Boyle, who has become arguably the most powerful journalist in the country piggy-backing on Trump’s rise to power, greeted and thanked reporters, many of whom are harshly, regularly critical of him and his publication’s pro-Trump propaganda. (Boyle has slammed The Daily Beast as “FAKE NEWS,” for instance.)
Duane "Dog" Chapman (a.k.a., Dog the Bounty Hunter, who much like the current leader of the free world was a reality-TV star) made the rounds on the Breitbart boat to push the case for why Sheriff David Clarke should be drafted into a Senate run.
“I got a quick back rub from Dog the Bounty Hunter,” one conservative journalist remarked.
The luau was winding down around 11 o’clock on Friday night, with Farage and others closing down the celebration. Much of the party broke off to head to an after-party a few blocks away hosted at a local bar by the Trump-boosting Great America PAC.
The American country-music act Big & Rich headlined the event, as young Republicans and libertarians danced, threw back shots, and dabbled in early-aughts nostalgia.
The country duo covered Sir Mix-a-Lot and Smash Mouth as a photo of Donald Trump’s face was brightly displayed on a screen hanging above the band.
“This is a metaphor for something I just don’t know what,” one GOP operative in attendance commented.
The soundtrack for Trump’s decidedly “bloody” revolution is only starting to be curated.