NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — President Trump fired up the closing day of the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday, as he sounded off on the Washington “swamp,” blasted his political detractors as “bad, bad people,” and slammed GOP Sen. Mitt Romney for his defection on the impeachment vote.
“I just didn't know how dirty it would be. I didn't know how deep it would be, when I said ‘drain the swamp,'” Trump told attendees at CPAC. “I never knew the swamp was so bad. It's really bad, but we're winning, and we're winning not easy. A lot of dirty people, a lot of very, very bad people–bad people.”
“I do think justice will be had,” he said. “Or I wouldn't be very happy right now.”
The president started his address by ripping what he called the “hate-filled left-wing mob.” But in the wake of impeachment and the Russia probe, Trump praised Republicans for sticking together.
He added: “Except Romney.”
The crowd at CPAC booed Romney, R-Utah, who in 2012 won the conservative conference's straw poll for the preferred GOP presidential nominee.
“He got some good publicity,” Trump said. “He's a low life.”
Trump's speech to CPAC came after a coronavirus press conference at the White House with members of the administration, where the president assured the nation while also announcing new travel restrictions.
Trump has addressed CPAC every year since taking office in 2017.
The president’s speech comes after days of panels, featuring White House officials, members of his re-election campaign, prominent Republican lawmakers and members of the conservative media making the case against socialism.
The theme at the annual conservative gathering outside Washington has been “America vs. Socialism.” The rhetoric at the event has repeatedly turned back to the current front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Vice President Mike Pence also addressed CPAC, warning conservatives against socialism—saying: “Freedom works. Socialism doesn’t.”
Pence, during his CPAC appearance, rallied the crowd and made the case for Trump’s re-election.
“Elections are about choices,” Pence said, while saying the 2020 race will give voters the choice between socialism and freedom.
“The choice has never been clearer, the stakes have never been higher,” Pence said. “Men and women of CPAC, we’ve got work to do. The truth is, it won’t be enough to win the next election. We’ve got to win the next generation.”
The president’s speech comes on the day of the South Carolina primary, where former Vice President Joe Biden is hoping to salvage his campaign with a win in the state he's long considered his firewall. Sanders has been catching up to him in the polls but has continued to trail.
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