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In a two-hour speech, Trump took aim at the Democrats, the Green New Deal and the Russia probe. His remarks came after a week of setbacks, which saw him come home empty-handed from a nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un.
In a speech laced with sarcasm and his characteristic "off script" style, US President Donald Trump targeted special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation and Democratic lawmakers at a conservative conference on Saturday.
Trump derided the Democrats' Green New Deal — a platform to reduce carbon emissions in the US and convert to 100 percent renewable resources — as a socialist plan that would severely impact the fossil fuel industry.
"We believe in the American dream, not in the socialist nightmare," he told cheering supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
"America will never be a socialist country," he added.
His remarks echoed those of other Republicans who have increasingly been using the word "socialism" to describe Democrats ever since some lawmakers started promoting liberal platforms like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
Lashing out at 'sick' Russia probe
With the Mueller investigation reportedly coming to an end, Trump criticized the probe as a "collusion delusion" and said that political foes were trying to take him out with "bullshit."
"This phony thing looks like it's dying so they don't have anything with Russia there, no collusion," he said, adding: "These people are sick."
Mueller is reportedly due to deliver his final report on the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to the attorney general soon.
Besides Mueller, Trump went after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former FBI head James Comey and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.
One person the US president didn't mention in his two-hour CPAC speech was his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who testified before several congressional committees this week, where he called Trump a "con man" and "racist."
Clarifying North Korea remarks
Trump still painted the summit as "very productive." He also attempted to clarify his remarks on believing Kim when he said he didn't know about the mistreatment of Otto Warmbier, a US student who died after months in a North Korean prison.
The remarks were met with backlash from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, with Warmbier's parents releasing a statement saying they held Kim and his regime responsible.
"I'm in such a horrible position because in one way I have to negotiate. In the other way, I love Mr and Mrs Warmbier and I love Otto. And it's a very, very delicate balance," Trump said.
Trump's speech came as Senator Bernie Sanders held his first 2020 campaign rally in New York. Sanders and over 10 other Democrats have already launched their presidential campaigns.
rs/bw (AP, AFP, dpa)