“The problem with this country,” according to Donald Trump, is that the White House won’t take his money to replace its cut-rate dinner tent. Speaking at a lethargic morning session on day two of CPAC today, Trump said he was dismayed to see a state dinner being held in a tent on the White House lawn, so he wanted to help. He called up the White House — “somebody I know very well, someone in a high position” — and offered to build “the most beautiful ballroom there is in the country” to host state dinners, but they never took up his offer.
The anecdote was typical of a speech filled with name dropping and inscrutable allegories about Trump’s wealth and the problems with America.
“If Mitt Romney made one mistake,” Trump said of the 2012 election, “it’s that he didn’t talk enough about his success.” According to Trump, Romney — the man who lost the election in part by being an out-of-touch patrician — should have talked more about his money instead of playing “defense” on it.
Of course, Romney did “pretty well” in the money-making department, but it was nothing compared to what Trump made — “$8 billion,” he offered, apropos of nothing.
Moving on, Trump noted that he just bought the Doral resort in Miami. He said it was poorly managed for years until he turned it around and now it’s doing great. “That’s what we need to do with this country,” he said.
Even when Trump got to this signature “every other country thinks we’re dumb” part of his speech, he couldn’t help but boast. The OPEC nations think we’re dumb, Trump said, because we’re buying oil from them instead of using our own reserves. How does he know what they think? “They’re all friends of mine, I know them all,” he said of the 12 OPEC member states, which include Venezuela and Iran.
He left the stage to “For the Love of Money,” by the O’Jays.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at email@example.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.