NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Donald Trump says Republicans are on a "suicide mission" if they give citizenship to the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, because "every one of those 11 million will vote Democratic," he told a CPAC crowd prodded to applaud here Friday morning. "It's just the way it works." Instead, Republicans should bring in a different kind of immigrant, he said: "Why aren't we letting people in from Europe?" Some of Trump's best good friends sent their sons to Harvard and Wharton School of Business, and "they take all of our knowledge, and we throw them out."
The country's top birther was a controversial pick for a speaking slot at the annual conservative gathering, given that governors like Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell weren't invited. Organizers said Trump was wildly popular with attendees. But it's hard to say why. He doesn't know how to give a political stump speech. "We have to make America strong again and make America great again," he said on Friday, then paused until the crowd realized it was an applause line. They applauded. "Thank you," Trump said, satisfied.
Worse, Trump says straight-up lies. "I've made over $8 billion," Trump said. "When I was running i filed my financial statement," when he was running for president in 2012, "people were surprised." No, people were surprised that Trump made that claim Friday, because it's false. He never filed his financial disclosure forms with the Federal Elections Commission. Then he had some deep thoughts on the Iraq war. Before the invasion, "some very smart people told me we were going for the oil," Trump said. "I was like, I get that." The audience laughed. But we didn't get the oil, Trump said; we should go back and get it. "I say of the families of soldiers who were killed, we should pay them money." Applause. But we do pay them money. When a soldier dies in combat, his next of kin gets a large sum. Soldiers refer to it as "winning the $400,000 lottery."
Trump said the Republican Party would come back by helping America come back and bringing jobs back from China. He dipped into one of his ticks — the image of the whole world laughing at us. As always, it feels like he's projecting.
Watch the whole speech here, and stay tuned for more from on the ground at CPAC all weekend...