NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Business magnate Donald Trump told Breitbart News on Friday that he was excited to be a part of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year and that the American Conservative Union (ACU), which hosts the event, was just as happy to have him aboard.
Left-wing outlets and even many in the mainstream press have lambasted Trump for his speech, despite its success. Among other hit pieces written on Trump throughout the media, the Christian Science Monitor asked in a headline if Trump was a “Democratic secret agent.”
But he is now setting the record straight with Breitbart News.
“I have been invited to headline CPAC conferences throughout 2011 and 2012,” Trump said. “This conference is very important, especially at this moment with the 2014 and 2016 elections fast approaching. I also consider Chairman Al Cardenas a good friend. I am glad that I was able to make room in my schedule for today’s address.”
A Trump operative added that he was invited to headline the 2011 Florida CPAC conference, plus the 2012 conferences in Chicago and Colorado, but could not attend because of prior commitments.
Trump spoke to CPAC 2013 here in National Harbor, MD at 8:45 a.m., a time slot his operative told Breitbart News he picked so he could meet with Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to help him with his election. During the meeting, Trump’s operative said the businessman stressed to the Kentucky GOP senate veteran that Karl Rove was doing tremendous damage to his re-election efforts.
The crowd in the main room filled to capacity by the end of Trump’s address, something his operative said he planned to do to help McConnell, who spoke right after him. Trump was apparently worried that McConnell’s audience size might be smaller than normal since the Faith and Freedom Prayer Breakfast was happening at the same time.
Trump was also offered to headline the Reagan Dinner on Saturday, but he cannot attend also because of a prior business commitment. After CPAC announced Trump was speaking this year, his operative said the ACU had the largest day of ticket sales in CPAC history.
“Mr. Trump is very worried that the Republican Party has learned the wrong lessons from the 2012 defeat,” the Trump operative said. “He felt it was important to stress to the party leaders and faithful that immigration and entitlement reform should not be a top priority. If the Republicans are going to be successful, they must focus on the economy, jobs, OPEC, reining in China and our debt crisis.”