Trump kisses flagpole, tells odd jokes and mocks Greta Thunberg at CPAC while Coronavirus fears grip nation

·2 min read

During this year’s CPAC convention, Donald Trump riled the crowd by calling Mitt Romney a “low life” and attacking teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg before hugging an American flag and telling the fabric he loves it.

“I love you baby,” Mr Trump told the flag as he held tight to it, mimicking a move of his that has been mocked the past. He also kissed it.

Mr Trump’s speech in Maryland came at the tail end of the conservative conference, which is held each year and features speakers from across the Republican world.

Whereas the convention was hostile territory for Mr Trump just four years ago when he was still a candidate for the Republican nomination, the event has now turned decidedly in his favour even as he struggled to pronounce words like “alien” and “recidivism” on stage.

As coronavirus concerns swept the country, Mr Trump kept the address light, leaning on some of his favourite attacks and jokes that he has used time and again on the campaign trail and at rallies across the country.

Of Ms Thunberg, whom he has publicly beefed with over her advocacy for climate change action, the president complained once again she had beat him as Time person of the year.

On Mr Romney, who was the sole Republican to vote in favour of his impeachment, Mr Trump called him a “low life” and elicited some boos from the forum where the Utah senator was once a welcome face.

And he spared no words for the Democratic presidential candidates who he has put a target on as they jostle for their party’s nomination.

He mocked Michael Bloomberg’s height. He claimed Democrats want to turn the US into Venezuela. At one point he began to bash Joe Biden, before trailing off into a compliment of his wife before getting distracted again and bashing the media.

“Look what I did to her! She choked. You know, she went out and got a test because I was killing her,” he said of Elizabeth Warren before using a racial slur he frequently employs to denigrate her.

But, then at the end, Mr Trump diverted from his normal rally speech. He did not promise to “make America great again”.

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