Shortly after he held a news conference at the White House on the latest regarding the coronavirus outbreak, including the first death in the United States, Trump headed to the Conservative Political Action Conference. Surrounded by cheering fans, Trump gave a campaign speech that included lots of criticism of Democrats and even some Republicans. At the end of his speech, Trump decided to lovingly caress and kiss the American flag that was on stage while mouthing the words, “I love you, baby.”
It was quite the scene and a bit of a redo from last year when the crowd at CPAC loved it that Trump hugged the flag tightly when he came out on stage. The move was roundly mocked by many but Trump’s fans ate it up. It seems the reaction was the same this year. “Number one goal in life: Find someone who loves you as much as President Trump loves this gorgeous flag,” a supporter wrote on Twitter. Others, however, were not so impressed with the display. “This flag is easily the oldest thing Trump has ever sexually assaulted,” someone else wrote.
The move quickly turned into a campaign talking point as well. In a fawning interview in Fox & Friends on Sunday morning, Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary for Trump’s reelection campaign said Trump “Hugging the flag, kissing the flag, he’s just distinctly Americana and it’s something that Bernie Sanders will never have.”
Earlier in the speech, Trump picked up on what has become a familiar talking point: Making jokes about a 17-year-old. Trump still seems mighty bitter that teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg was named Time’s “Person of the Year” instead of him and on Saturday said he didn’t even know who she was. “This year, I lost to Greta,” Trump said as the crowd laughed. “I said, ‘Who?’” Trump didn’t take the mockery much further though: “I’m not going to get involved in that because, last time, I got in a little trouble.”