NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- He’s not exactly hired.
Donald Trump, the New York real estate mogul who flirted with a 2012 presidential bid, spoke largely off the cuff to a respectful, but somewhat bewildered crowd here at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
On the one hand, Trump spouted what could be seen as fairly liberal views, chiding the GOP and conservatives for wanting to cut entitlements and for becoming too conservative.
“Our country is in very, very serious trouble,” Trump said, adding, “Likewise the Republican Party is in serious trouble.” He said if the party wants to “change substantially” Medidcare, Social Security, and Medicaid, “and you think you’re going to win elections, it just really is not going to happen.”
But on the other hand, he also said the party should not jump too quickly on immigration reform because the 11 million undocumented immigrants would vote Democratic.
“Every one of those 11 million” illegal immigrants “will be voting Democratic and you have to be very, very careful. Odds are, it’s not looking so great for Republicans. … You’re on a suicide mission – you’re just not going to get that vote."
At the same time, he said Europeans who want to immigrate to the U.S. and who have children who do well at American universities should be allowed to stay.
Trump also had praise for Mitt Romney, who will speak later. But had one critique.
“If Mitt Romney made one mistake,” Trump said, “he didn’t talk enough about his success. The Republicans and Mitt didn’t speak enough about the great things he did.”
After his speech, Trump held an unannounced news conference, but it was only open initially to select - and mostly conservative - media outlets. NBC was eventually allowed in after protesting.