WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Donald Trump touted his record Friday while addressing a variety of topics from school safety to immigration in a wide-ranging speech reviewing his first year in office.
The president spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual event on the outskirts of Washington that is considered the country’s highest-profile gathering of conservative activists.
Trump On School Safety: “We Will Do Something”
“We listened to their heart-wrenching stories,” Trump said about the shooing survivors and families. “They’ve suffered beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed.”
He said he wants to “hear ideas from Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs about how we can improve security in our schools, tackle the issue of mental health.”
“Why do we protect our airports, our banks, our government buildings but not our schools? It’s time to make schools a much harder target for attackers,” he said.
Trump said designating schools as “gun-free zones” puts students in “far more danger.” He reiterated his push for “gun-adept teachers and coaches” to be able to carry concealed firearms.
The president also slammed the armed school resource officer who officials said never went inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida as the shooting was underway.
“He was not a credit to law enforcement, that I can tell you,” Trump said.
Trump Says Democrats Have “Totally Abandoned DACA.”
On immigration, Trump said Democrats in Congress “don’t even talk to me” about DACA.
“The Democrats are being totally unresponsive. They don’t want to do anything about DACA,” he said. “It’s very possible that DACA won’t happen and it’s not because of the Republicans, it’s because of the Democrats and frankly, you better elect more Republicans folks otherwise or it will never happen.”
The president also told the crowd, “don’t worry, you’re getting the wall,” which prompted the audience to chant “build the wall!”
Earlier Friday, the president called on Mexico to block MS-13 gang members from traveling through their country on the way to the U.S.
He tweeted that gang members are being removed “by the thousands” by federal law enforcement agents, “but these killers come back in from El Salvador, and through Mexico, like water.”
Trump accuses El Salvador of just paying lip service to combating the violent international gang based there, and says Mexico “must help MORE with this problem.” He added: “We need The Wall!”
President Announces North Korea Sanctions
Trump also announced sanctions on North Korea during his speech Friday, calling them “the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before.”
“And hopefully something positive can happen,” he said.”
The Trump administration is hitting more than 50 vessels, shipping companies and trade businesses with sanctions in the latest bid to turn up the pressure on North Korea over its nuclear program, according to a senior administration official.
The announcement comes as South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics, an occasion the two Koreas have used as an opportunity to try to restart talks.
President Urges Supporters To “Keep Up The Enthusiasm”
Turning to this year’s elections, Trump said that Republicans must not be complacent in the fall midterms, warning of terrible consequences if Democrats take control of Congress.
Trump predicted Democrats would “take away those massive tax cuts,” referencing to his signature tax law signed in December, “and they will take away your Second Amendment” which he says, “we will never allow to happen.”
Trump then surveyed the audience of conservatives on which issue was more important to them, and listened as the crowd cheered loudly in support of the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Basking in the glow of some of his most hard-core supporters, Trump argued that his administration has kept his campaign promises, boasting as he often does that he “had the most successful first year in the history of the presidency.”
But the president also admitted that, “historically, when you win the presidency, you don’t do well two years later” because after they “fight, fight fight” for the White House “nobody has that same drive” and “so you end up not doing that well.”
He told his supporters that they have “got to keep up the enthusiasm.”
Trump Jokes About Bald Spot
At one point during his speech Friday, the president Trump turned around onstage and smoothed the back of his famous hair.
“I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks,” he said. The crowd cheered as Trump glanced at a monitor and added, “Doesn’t look bad. Hey, we’re hanging in.”
The president’s bald spot was exposed Feb. 2 when he turned away from cameras to climb aboard Air Force One. As Trump climbed the stairs, a wind gust blew aside a flap of hair.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump let a woman tug the hair on top of his head to prove it is attached.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)