President Donald Trump delivered a speech at the Heritage Foundation President’s Club dinner on Tuesday, praising interim president Ed Feulner as “a fearless defender of our Constitution.”
“For nearly a half a century, you have been titans in the fight to defend, promote, and preserve our great American heritage,” Trump said.
The president, who ran as a populist conservative with an “America First” agenda, came to greet the donors behind the conservative think tank that has influenced the Republican policy for decades.
The longtime conservative club and its donors heartily cheered the Trump agenda, even his tough positions on illegal immigration and trade. But his lines on tax reform, judges, and national pride earned the most applause.
“Freedom is not a gift from government, freedom is a gift from God,” Trump said. “Young Americans should be taught to love our country, honor our anthem, and proudly recite the pledge of allegiance.”
The president celebrated the recent economic high of the stock market, pointing out that it had reached 23,000 for the first time in history.
“I don’t think too many people in this room will be upset,” Trump said referring to the donors in the room.
As an ensconced member of the Washington D.C. conservative establishment, Feulner joined President Trump’s transition team last summer, when it was first created by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Feulner was also among a handful of conservative leaders in Washington, D.C. who were invited to have dinner with the president at the White House in September.
After former president Jim DeMint was ousted from his position in April, Feulner reassumed his position as president, albeit on an interim basis.
“We were Ronald Reagan’s favorite think tank,” Feulner said to Heritage employees in May. “And today we are, and will continue to be, Donald Trump’s favorite think tank.”
Trump urged the organization to help him pass his signature tax reform.
“We need the help of the Heritage Foundation, and everybody here tonight, to get our tax cuts through the house, through the Senate, and to my desk for signature,” he said to heavy applause.