'God, Not Government, at Center': Trump Tackles Gun Control, Honors Billy Graham in Rousing CPAC Speech


Speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, President Donald Trump touted his list of accomplishments since coming into office while also being careful to give ultimate credit to God.

"Above all we know the faith and family – not government and bureaucracy – are at the center... because at the end of the day, we don't worship government; we worship God," he declared.

Trump touted his "America First" economic policies, most recently a major tax overhaul, as being among his greatest presidential triumphs so far.

"Two-point-seven million jobs created since the election. African-American unemployment has reached the lowest level in our history. Hispanic unemployment has reached the lowest level in our history. Women's unemployment is at the lowest level in 18 years," the president told the enthusiastic CPAC crowd.

Still, he reminded his conservative base of the upcoming 2018 midterms, warning them against the dangers of complacency.

"Don't be complacent," he admonished. "They'll take away your Second Amendment, which we will never allow to happen. They'll take away your tax cuts and they'll take away your Second Amendment."

Turning his attention to national security, the president briefly mentioned his administration's latest plans to pressure North Korea to end its nuclear program.

"We have imposed the heaviest sanctions ever imposed," the president said.  

Gun Control

Trump placed a heavier emphasis, however, on the recent school shooting spree in Parkland, Florida, and steps his administration is taking to ensure America's children are safe.

"On Wednesday, I had the honor of meeting with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, with families who have lost their children in prior shootings –  great families, great people – and with members of the local community in Washington, DC. Our whole nation was moved by their strength and courage," the president told the crowd.

With that in mind, he pushed back against calls to make the nation's schools gun-free zones.

"Why do we protect our airports, our banks, our government buildings, but not our schools?" he said, drawing applause from the audience. "It's time to make our schools a much harder target for attackers – we don't want them in our schools. When we declare our schools to be gun-free zones, it just puts our students in far more danger."

The president also proposed strategically arming some – not all – teachers and other faculty as a way of preventing more school tragedies.

"Well-trained, gun-adept teachers and coaches, people that work in those buildings, people that were in the Marines for 20 years and retired, people in the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, people that are adept with weaponry – they teach!" he pointed out.

"I'd rather have someone who loves their students" guarding the children rather than someone who doesn't know them, making note of the officer who stayed outside Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during last week's shooting spree rather than going inside to engage the gunman.

"That's a case where somebody was outside, they're trained, they didn't react properly under pressure or they were a coward," Trump said ahead of his CPAC speech Friday. "It was a real shot to the police department."

While reiterating his support on the Second Amendment, President Trump nevertheless stressed the need for common sense gun control as well as emphasis on mental health.

"One of the measures we have to do – and there's no one who loves the Second Amendment more than I do – but we really need to strengthen up background checks," he said.  

Billy Graham

Trump drew some of his greatest applause, however, when he paid homage to world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 99.

"This week, we lost an incredible leader... We will never forget Billy Graham. As a young man he decided to devote his life to God, and as a result changed our country," the president said.

The man known as "America's pastor" will lie in honor at the US Capitol Rotunda next Wednesday and Thursday.

The president predicted the lines of people waiting to pay respects to Rev. Graham "are going to be long and beautiful because he deserves it."

US Embassy Moving to Jerusalem
While the lion's share of President Trump was focused on putting "America First," he also took time reiterate his intention to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem, with White House officials announcing the move would take place this May.

"We officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," he reminded the CPAC audience.

"Every president campaigned on, 'We're gonna move the embassy,' then they never pulled it off," he continued. "It's the right thing to do."

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