Former President Donald Trump delivers a primetime speech to a packed house at CPAC in Orlando. (via: Talia Blake/WMFE)



The Conservative Political Action Committee ended on Sunday. Former President Donald Trump spoke for about an hour and a half over the weekend during a keynote address to a crowded ballroom at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando.

It covers topical issues such as critical race theory, inflation, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The Russian attack on Ukraine is appalling. This is an outrage and an atrocity that should never have happened, it never would have happened,” he said. “We pray for the proud people of Ukraine.

Trump went on to say that this invasion would not have happened on his watch. “I have no doubt that President Putin took the decision to ruthlessly attack Ukraine only after witnessing the pathetic withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the army was wiped out.”

Furthermore, he said reporters asked him if he thought Putin was smart. He has answered, “The problem is not that Putin is smart, which of course he is smart. But the real problem is that our leaders are stupid. So silly.”

Duane Schwingle at CPAC. (via: Talia Blake/WMFE)

Trump addressed a packed ballroom Saturday night. Duane Schwingle came out to hear the former president speak. He donned a red “Save America” hat, a freedom t-shirt and a bow tie with the American flag.

“It was good. It was good. I like the way he presents himself. It’s pretty much the same. But he excites us,” Schwingle said.

He said it was his third time at CPAC, but he had attended about 15 “save America rallies” in support of Trump.

That support can also be seen in the results of this year’s straw poll, which the conference conducts annually to gauge what people think of the conservative movement, including possible presidential candidates.

More than 2,500 CPAC attendees took the survey, with 97% endorsing Trump’s work as president. And he’s still their favorite if the election were to be today.

“Donald Trump 59%. Too bad for him who is fading. He had 55% last year. Ron DeSantis is 28%,” said Jim McLaughlin of McLaughlin and Associates – who is leading the investigation. When participants were asked the same question without Donald Trump as an option, Governor Ron DeSantis received 61% of the vote.

But, the primary results may look more like the first poll, as Trump says he plans to “make America great again.” “We did it twice. And we will do it again. We will do it again. A third time.

As CPAC’s final sessions wrapped up, Duane Schwingle reflected on the weekend. “It was a great feeling of a combination of hopelessness and optimism,” he said. “And the two together have a very big impact.”