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Freewheeling Trump at CPAC touts armed teacher proposal

A freewheeling President Donald Trump offered a political greatest hits reel Friday to the highest-profile right-wing...

Posted: Feb 23, 2018 3:26 PM
Updated: Feb 23, 2018 3:26 PM

A freewheeling President Donald Trump offered a political greatest hits reel Friday to the highest-profile right-wing gathering of the year, basking in conservative plaudits for what he characterized as a triumphant first year in office.

Quickly discarding prepared remarks he deemed "sort of boring," Trump lit into Democrats and even some Republicans who he deemed insufficiently doctrinaire, and again called for teachers to be armed in schools as a response to the Florida shooting last week.

He welcomed familiar chants like "lock her up" about Hillary Clinton, the opponent he defeated 15 months ago. And he pledged to protect gun ownership rights, even amid an emotional national debate over guns in which he'd pledged new restrictions.

It was Trump's second appearance as President at the Conservative Political Action Conference, held just outside Washington in Maryland. His speech at CPAC last year was a blistering and dark diatribe that cemented the notion that Trump would not adhere to presidential norms.

This time around, Trump was more upbeat. He declared his administration "has had the most successful first year in the history of the presidency," naming tax cuts and a regulatory overhaul as his chief accomplishments.

He went on an extended riff about immigration, vowing to build his promised border wall, lamenting a system he claimed was woefully broken, and declaring Democrats were unwilling to accept an agreement that would reform the DACA program. He launched into the "snake" fable that formed a major portion of his campaign stump speech, glistening with sweat as he warned against accepting immigrants he characterized as violent criminals.

And he was gleeful in his assaults on political rivals. He deemed Democrats "really crazed." And though he didn't name Sen. John McCain, the ailing Arizona Republican, he lashed out at his vote against a health care repeal that many Republicans backed.

"It would be controversial so I won't use his name," Trump said. "What a mess."

The Republicans who organize CPAC and fill its speaking roster have sometimes cringed at Trump's harsh rhetoric, but they tolerate it in the hopes he can help shepherd through a staunchly conservative agenda.

They have largely been rewarded over the past year, as Trump has approved sweeping tax cuts that include slashing the corporate rate, a massive unraveling of regulations and the partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Their tolerance for Trump's crude brashness may be tested in the gun debate. The President has vowed to take action to prevent school shootings like the one in Florida last week, and he has expressed openness to at least one measure opposed by the National Rifle Association: raising the minimum age to purchase firearms like the AR-15.

On Friday, however, Trump declared himself firm in his support for gun ownership rights, despite his pledges this week to take some action on guns.

"They will put judges in that you wouldn't believe, they'll take away your 2nd Amendment, which we will never allow to happen, they'll take away your 2nd Amendment," he said of Democrats to raucous cheers from the crowd, which skews younger.

"Remember that," Trump said, "they will take away those massive tax cuts, and they will take away your Second Amendment."

Opening his speech Friday, Trump touted accomplishments, despite what he said was skepticism about his conservative bona fides.

"Remember when I first started running -- I started running and people said are you sure he's a conservative. I think now we can say I'm a conservative," he said. "We have put more great conservative ideas into use than perhaps ever before in American history."

In his speech, he addressed last week's shooting in Florida and continued his call for some teachers to be armed.

"When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones it just puts our students in far more danger," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto973199
Hinds9668197
Harrison6898109
Jackson6178119
Rankin5319100
Lee487695
Madison4666106
Forrest371386
Jones346788
Lauderdale3355144
Lafayette317549
Washington3122107
Lamar283449
Oktibbeha240861
Bolivar240184
Lowndes229763
Neshoba2177115
Panola215849
Marshall209650
Leflore201490
Pontotoc196128
Monroe191477
Sunflower190555
Lincoln186865
Warren172657
Tate165451
Union163925
Pike160658
Copiah159540
Yazoo152039
Scott150729
Coahoma148743
Itawamba148234
Pearl River146567
Alcorn146327
Simpson145153
Prentiss141230
Adams137949
Grenada137745
Leake131943
Holmes126561
Tippah123030
George122324
Covington119737
Winston119124
Wayne116223
Hancock115939
Marion111646
Attala109833
Tishomingo106542
Chickasaw104132
Newton103629
Tallahatchie96327
Clarke88853
Clay87127
Jasper81222
Walthall75328
Stone73114
Calhoun72913
Montgomery72125
Carroll70614
Lawrence70314
Yalobusha70027
Noxubee69717
Smith69616
Perry65426
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57616
Jefferson Davis55017
Humphreys52918
Amite51814
Benton48717
Quitman4816
Webster42114
Kemper41918
Wilkinson38722
Jefferson34211
Franklin3265
Choctaw3117
Sharkey30717
Issaquena1124
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 239318

Reported Deaths: 3532
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31391491
Mobile19562361
Tuscaloosa12813154
Madison12741146
Montgomery12198235
Shelby1000577
Baldwin847398
Lee764466
Morgan634348
Calhoun6112115
Marshall607954
Etowah606565
Houston517038
DeKalb474736
Cullman428038
Limestone413744
St. Clair409055
Elmore400762
Lauderdale393653
Walker3588108
Talladega343453
Jackson307624
Colbert301941
Blount285539
Autauga268641
Franklin247833
Coffee239715
Dale230354
Dallas224531
Russell22053
Chilton219638
Covington216833
Escambia197431
Chambers173749
Tallapoosa173391
Pike157514
Clarke156319
Marion136535
Winston129923
Lawrence124836
Geneva12028
Pickens119418
Marengo119124
Barbour117010
Bibb116217
Butler114441
Randolph100921
Cherokee100824
Hale94531
Clay90223
Washington90219
Fayette87316
Henry8496
Lowndes79129
Monroe78111
Cleburne75714
Macon72321
Crenshaw70730
Bullock69119
Conecuh68314
Perry6756
Lamar6508
Wilcox63118
Sumter57122
Choctaw41913
Greene41418
Coosa3374
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