WASHINGTON, D.C. — Donald Trump took center stage near the end of day one of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, began his speech by likening Obama and his falling approval ratings to the “late, great Jimmy Carter.” However, former President Carter is very much alive.
Trump, who says he is still considering a run for governor in New York, went on to blast fellow CPAC speakers Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio for their positions on various issues. He then praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intellect, while noting he was dangerous because of his close relationship with Iran.
Trump suggested Putin was outsmarting Obama in the still-escalating crisis in Ukraine. He knew this because he spent time in Moscow a few months ago.
“Putin even sent me a present!” he said, adding that the Russian leader was “toying” with Obama.
Trump then proceeded to the main theme of his speech, which was a warning the U.S. is in “trouble.” He described Ryan and Rubio as part of the problem.
Trump bashed Rubio for his work on immigration reform, saying the Florida senator was someone who wants to “let everybody in.” He also cautioned about an influx of immigrants taking potential votes from Republicans.
“They’re taking your jobs,” he said. “You better be careful.”
Trump prefaced his slam of Ryan by saying he “like[d] him very much.” But he suggested that it was a mistake for the former vice presidential nominee to keep talking about cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
“I don’t like what they’re saying,” he said.
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