In a slashing speech packed with braggadocio and grievance, US President Donald Trump denounced Democrats as the party of “the socialist nightmare,” relitigated his crowd sizes back to the inauguration and took on “sick,” “lunatic” and “dirty” foes at every turn, earning him the unvarnished adoration of cheering conservatives.
After a trying week of tumult and setbacks, Trump delivered a stem-winder on Saturday that extended beyond two hours and hardly left him winded. Trump let loose against House Democrats, who are broadening their probes of him, predicted he would win re-election by a greater margin than his 2016 victory, taunted his potential White House challengers and sounded themes that are staples of his rallies.
He complained often of getting “no credit” for his achievements as he proudly drifted “off script” at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
On the stage, he was a prideful and at times profane figure as he complained that past political appointments had allowed a situation where political foes were trying to take him out with “bullshit.”
It took him more than an hour to get to the message that Republicans and members of his administration were emphasising in recent weeks as they try to brand Democratic policy ideas as socialism.
“America will never be a socialist country,” he said.
“Socialism is not about the environment, it’s not about justice, it’s not about virtue.”
He said it’s about “power for the ruling class.” For every prepared line like that, there were multiple improvisations from a president on policy and personality.
“This phony thing,” Trump said of the Russia probe, “looks like it’s dying so they don’t have anything with Russia there, no collusion. So now they go in and morph into ‘Let’s inspect every deal he’s ever done. We’re going to go into his finances. We’re going to check his deals. We’re going to check’ — these people are sick.”