Real estate mogul Donald Trump spoke at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, on Friday, where he cautioned Republicans that cutting entitlements while holding on to hopes of winning elections is a pipe dream.
Trump kicked off the second day of CPAC 2013 on a grim note -- and with much rambling -- reminding the party that it is in “serious trouble.”
“As Republicans, if you think you are going to change very substantially for the worse Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in any substantial way and at the same time you think you’re going to win elections, it’s just really is not going to happen,” Trump said after walking to the podium with the O’Jays’ “For the Love of Money” playing in the background. “What we have to do, and the way we solve our problems, is to build a great economy.”
The celebrity mogul said, compared to China, the U.S. economy isn’t great, because “we don’t make anything anymore.”
He also spoke about immigration, the only one of President Barack Obama’s second-term agendas likely to get bipartisan support.
In January, a bipartisan group of senators outlined an immigration reform proposal that would create a pathway to citizenship for the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in America. However, Trump warned conservatives that those 11 million votes will go to the Democrats.
“Even if given the right to vote, 11 million people will be voting Democratic,” Trump said. “It’s just the way it works, and you have to be very, very careful, because you could say that, to a certain extent, the odds aren’t looking so great right now for Republicans, that you’re on a suicide mission. You’re just not going to get those votes.”
Instead, Trump suggested that lawmakers look toward Europe, where he said he has many friends pining to enter the U.S.
“They learn, they take all of our knowledge, and they can’t work in this country. We throw them out,” Trump said. “We educate them; we make them really good. They go home. They can’t stay here, so they work from their country, and they work very effectively against us. Now how stupid is that? ... So something has to happen.”
Since the 2012 election loss, Republicans have been scrambling to explain what went wrong. Some have said the GOP divided American voters and that its policies don’t help every American prosper.
But by Trump’s analysis, GOP nominee Mitt Romney didn’t flaunt his wealth enough.
Romney is a successful businessman believed to have a net worth of about $250 million. Democrats portrayed Romney as a wealthy candidate who couldn’t understand the plight of regular citizens. Trump saw the candidate’s wealth as something Americans aspire to have.
“I think if Mitt made one mistake -- and I like Mitt Romney a lot -- but if he made one mistake it’s that he didn’t talk enough about his success,” Trump said. “Honestly, people really want success. They want a leader who is successful, and Mitt has done a great job. I just feel that the Republicans and Mitt didn’t speak enough about the things he did, the great things. They were on the defensive instead of taking the offensive.”