NATIONAL HARBOR, MARYLAND — President Donald Trump treated Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) crowds with a speech that lasted over two hours on Saturday.
The speech was certainly the longest CPAC speech ever given by a president of the United States and the longest speech ever at CPAC. It was also described as the longest speech of his presidency.
Trump stopped to hug the American flag after he took the stage at 12:14 p.m. EST to his favorite American anthem, “Proud to Be an American” by Lee Greenwood.
He began his speech by recalling his first big political speech at CPAC in 2011.
“I enjoyed it so much that I came back for a second one. Then a third, and then I said, ‘What the hell, let’s run for president,’” Trump said.
The president had a prepared speech and teleprompters set up but soon abandoned them to discuss what was on his mind.
“You know I’m totally off script right now, and this, you know, is how I got elected, by being off script,” he said. “And if we don’t go off script our country is in big trouble, folks.”
Trump spoke at length about his presidency, telling stories about his experience in the White House during the government shutdown and his trip to Iraq to meet with the troops. He ripped the ongoing investigations by congressional Democrats, the FBI, and special counsel Robert Mueller.
He also spoke about socialist Democrats and mocked the “Green New Deal” introduced by freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
“I do like the green new deal. I respect it greatly,” Trump joked as the crowd laughed. “It should be part of the dialogue of the next election.”
Trump also commented that he was giving away too much material from his future 2020 campaign rallies against Democrat challengers.
“I’m going to regret this speech,” he said. “This speech should have been delivered a year from now, not now damn it.”
He joked that he destroyed Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) by ripping her as “Pocahontas,” but conceded that he might have ended her political career too soon.
“Now I won’t get a chance to run against her, and I would have loved that,” he said. “I don’t want to knock out all of the good stuff and end up with somebody that’s actually got talent.”
After about an hour and a half, Trump checked in on the audience and asked, “Is everyone ok? I haven’t seen anybody leaving,” he said.
He joked, “I know one thing — if Mark Levin leaves, I will leave very quickly.”
The CPAC audience remained engaged as the president continued, with familiar chants of “USA!” “Build the wall!” and “Lock her up!” as his political rallies.
Trump also mocked the “Never Trumpers” in the conservative movement, insisting that they were on “mouth-to-mouth resuscitation” just to stay alive.
The president also explored important themes coming up in 2020, including free speech on campus — even inviting a conservative college student on stage who was punched for his beliefs.
Trump glanced at his watch after the two-hour mark and remarked, “I’ve been up here a long time!”
His voice remained strong through the speech, and he continued standing at the podium on stage.
He thanked Matt Schlapp, the American Conservative Union president and CPAC director, for putting the conference together, noting that the organizer said he could speak as long as we wanted.
“Now more than ever, we need the proud men and women of CPAC, and I want to thank everybody here because it is incredible, your organization is incredible,” he said.
Schlapp said that the organization welcomed record crowds to CPAC this year to hear the president speak.
“Like Ronald Reagan, when he wants to recharge, he connects with his base, here at CPAC,” he said as he introduced the president.