But now Trump has delivered not only the White House but control of the House and Senate as well.
"I think we've proved now that I'm conservative", Trump said, noting earlier CPAC appearances when many Republicans viewed him with suspicion. "They've suffered beyond anything I've ever witnessed". The timing is ideal for Trump as he will have activists on his right who he needs to get on his side if he wants to get anything done. "And there's nobody that respects the NRA-they're friends of mine, they backed us all, they're great people, they're patriots".
Separately, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced plans to put more armed guards in schools and to make it harder for young adults and some with mental illness to buy guns.
Since holding an emotional listening session at the White House on Wednesday with students and parents affected by gun violence, Trump has called for "well-trained" and "gun-adept" teachers and coaches to be able to carry concealed firearms at schools. And these teachers are talented with weaponry and with guns.
"Much of the right has abandoned the principled conservatism of Ronald Reagan and William Buckley for the opportunism of Donald Trump", said Pitney.
Nor does the idea of arming teachers sit well with the head of the American Federation of Teachers, the parent organization of the Newark Teachers Union.
"The Democrats are being totally unresponsive". He told the audience that Democrats were "unresponsive" about DACA and were dead wrong for acting on behalf of "alien immigrants" and sanctuary cities.
William Temple a Tea Party fan in Revolutionary War attire hails liberty at the conferenceKEVIN LAMARQUE REUTERS
"You know you're bite is poisonous, and now I'm going to die!". "He was not a credit to law enforcement". He added: "We need The Wall!". Trump said he would use the Democratic votes against his tax reform in this year's November midterm elections. Frankly, hopefully, something positive can happen.
The announcement comes as South Korea hosts the Winter Olympics, an occasion the two Koreas have used as an opportunity to try to restart talks.
"They'll take away your Second Amendment", Trump claimed of Democrats, "which we will never allow that".
At the end of a year ago, Trump signed into law a large tax-cut bill.
"By the way, you don't mind if I go off-script a little bit, because, you know it's sort of boring", the president said to whoops and cheers from the now-enthralled crowd.
He told his supporters that they have "got to keep up the enthusiasm". He hovered his hands over his multi-angled locks, turned his back to the crowd to show off his solid-gold covering like a tarp keeping the rain out, then briefly touched the edges over his neck.
"To secure our country, we are calling on Congress to build a border wall to stop unsafe drugs and criminals", Trump will say. (Hosting Governors at his residence the next day, Pence said "the time has come for us to work together to find new and renewed ways to put the safety and security of our children and our schools first.") By the afternoon, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas cast the debate as one rooted in activists' over-reach.