President Trump took the stage at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) on Friday, and gave an energetic speech in which he emphasized his America-first stance on international relations and promised a historic buildup of America’s military strength.

The president opened his speech by addressing his position on the American media, reiterating a recent Twitter post in which he accused major news outlets of being the “enemy of the American people,” before emphasizing that “nobody loves” the first amendment “better than me.”

The president’s speech was well-received by the crowd at CPAC as he transitioned his remarks away from the media and toward national defense.  “I will never ever, ever apologize for protecting the safety and security of the American people,” Trump said, adding that he’s willing to accept the “bad press” he’ll receive for doing so.

He addressed terrorist attacks that have occurred overseas, saying, “We have to be smart, folks. We can’t let it happen to us.  We are going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”

After reaffirming his intent to build a wall on the Mexican-American border and addressing his intent to work with businesses to create more jobs, the president stated that he intends to approach Congress about a “massive budget request for our beloved military.”

“And we will be substantially upgrading all of our military, all of our military, offensive, defensive, everything, bigger and better and stronger than ever before. And hopefully, we’ll never have to use it, but nobody’s gonna mess with us, folks, nobody,” the president said.

He went on to voice his concerns about the current condition of America’s military due to budget cuts in recent years.

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“It will be one of the greatest military build-ups in American history. No one will dare question as they have been because we’re very depleted, very, very depleted. Sequester. Sequester. Nobody will dare question our military might again. We believe in peace through strength and that’s what we will have.”

As President Trump has indicated in the past, he intends to focus his attention on the Islamic State.

“As part of my pledge to restore safety for the American people, I have also directed the defense community to develop a plan to totally obliterate ISIS,” he said. “Working with our allies, we will eradicate this evil from the face of the Earth.”

The president has received a great deal of criticism from those in both the Left and the Right over his efforts regarding refugees and immigration, but he doubled down on his stance at CPAC.

“We fully understand that national security begins with border security; foreign terrorists will not be able to strike America if they cannot get into our country.”

The tone of Trump’s speech was similar to those he delivered on the campaign trail, and although he was met with a captivated audience at CPAC, it seems unlikely that the president’s speech will do much to raise his slumping approval ratings, which range between 32 and 52 percent depending on the source of the data.  The majority of sources, however, show his approval rating as somewhere in the forty-percent range, which is historically low this early in a president’s administration.

With portions of the president’s cabinet still awaiting congressional approval, its stands to reason that the man that was once discounted as a presidential candidate could still surprise Americans that feel as though his tenure thus far has been disorganized or poorly managed.  With the country as polarized as ever regarding the politics of the White House, Trump has thus far failed to assuage the fears posed by his critics, but seems content to continue to mass support from his conservative base.

 

SOFREP AT CPAC 2014

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Image courtesy of Reuters