The Washington Post

In rambling CPAC speech, Donald Trump says GOP ‘in serious trouble’

Celebrity mogul Donald Trump opened the second day of the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference with a speech that combined dire predictions about the GOP's future with boasts about his own career.

"The Republican Party is in serious trouble," Trump said. "When you spend $400 million on a campaign and you lose, you know there's a problem."

He warned the party that it could not win by changing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security "for the worse." He declared that if 11 million undocumented immigrants are given legal status, "every one of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic; that's just the way it works." Immigration reform, he suggested, might be a suicide mission. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's description of the GOP as the "stupid party," Trump predicted, would come back to haunt Republicans.

But he had solutions. On entitlements, he argued that we simply need a great economy. "Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, they all become affordable when we become a wealthy country again," he said. Like President Obama has, he called for a focus on manufacturing, saying "we have to take back our jobs from China."

On immigration, he suggested bringing in more people from Europe. "I have many friends from Europe; they want to come in," but they can't, he said. "People whose sons went to Harvard!"

He dabbled in foreign policy, arguing that the United States should pay itself $1.5 trillion out of Iraq's oil reserves and saying the United States is "a laughing stock" abroad.

Trump was also ready to take on his critics, calling them "total lightweights" who "can't buy a clean shirt." He suggested that "the problem with the country" was that the White House never took him up on an offer to build a new ballroom for official state dinners.

He suggested that Mitt Romney should have been a little more boastful himself.

"I think if Mitt made one mistake -- and I like Mitt a lot -- it's that he didn't talk enough about his success," Trump said.

There were bouts of applause and laughter during the speech. But overall the audience response was muted, and there were long stretches of silence during Trump's speech.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.



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Aaron Blake · March 15, 2013

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