WASHINGTON — Six years ago, as the “money, money, money, money” chorus of his reality TV show’s theme song blasted, Donald Trump stepped out before the nation’s largest gathering of conservative activists for the first time. The crowd was less than adoring, occasionally laughing at and booing the longtime former Democrat.

But Trump’s speech Friday to the group was like a series of greatest hits from his campaign rallies.

He reminisced about his victory in the Republican primaries. He vowed to “build the wall” along the Mexican border. He denounced Hillary Clinton’s characterization of some of his supporters as belonging in a “basket of deplorables.”

And perhaps most strikingly, the crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference responded to his Clinton criticism with chants of “Lock her up!” just as they did at Trump rallies last year.

Further blurring the line between Candidate and President Trump: He left the Conservative Political Action Conference stage to “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by The Rolling Stones, the same exit music he used during the campaign.

In his remarks, Trump signaled more reforms ahead for the nation’s welfare system. He told the group that “it’s time for all Americans to get off welfare and get back to work.” He adds, “You’re going to love it.”

The nation’s welfare laws were overhauled under former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s. The changes provided states with grants in exchange for greater flexibility in how they can use the funds.

There’s been a steady decline in the number of needy families participating in the nation’s welfare program since the mid-1990s.

Trump pledged that “in a matter of days,” his administration will take “a brand new action” to prevent potential terrorists from entering the U.S.

Though he did not specify what is coming, White House officials have said a new immigration ban will be released shortly.

The original ban was knocked down by a federal court. Trump said Friday that “we will not be deterred from this course.”

He vowed that would “never apologize” for protecting the safety of American people and promised that “we are going to keep radical Islamic terrorism the hell out of country.”

The president touched on other familiar themes:

• He said he inherited a “failed health care law” that threatens the nation’s medical system with “total catastrophe.” He reiterated his promise to repeal and replace the sweeping health care law signed into law by former President Barack Obama.

Trump said “Obamacare” doesn’t work and it covers “very few people,” even though the 2010 health law has provided medical insurance to 20 million Americans. The president said he and the Republican-led Congress will “make it much better” and “less expensive.”

• He complained about the media’s use of anonymous sources and accusing news news outlets of making up source for damaging reports about his White House. He spoke just hours after members of his own staff held a press briefing in which they refused to attach their names to the information.

He escalated his attacks on what he calls the “fake news.” He says fake reporting is the “enemy of the people.”

He blamed the FBI for failing to stop leaks to the media, saying the information being reported is classified and could have a “devastating effect” on the country.

In a tweet posted earlier Friday, Trump said, “The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security ‘leakers’ that have permeated our government for a long time. They can’t even find the leakers within the FBI itself.”

In a second tweet, he added, “classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: