How CPAC Helped Launch Donald Trump’s Political Career

Trump didn’t wing it entirely. He shrewdly picked issues ― abortion, guns and Obamacare ― to appeal to the GOP base, earning standing ovations when he pledged his conservative orthodoxy on these matters. The crowd (at least the non-Ron Paul-supportive elements of it) ate it up, while out in the halls there was palpable buzz.

.. Trump almost didn’t make it to CPAC that year. The gay-conservative group GOProud, which was waging its own battles with conference organizers, initially invited him.

.. GOProud’s former chairman Chris Barron thought of the idea of getting Trump to attend. He reached out to Roger Stone, Trump’s longtime confidant, about the possibility. They collectively agreed to the idea.

.. “When Trump walked into the building, it was like Michael Jackson coming out of a Japanese airport. There were throngs of people around him,” he added. “From the moment when he walked into the door, I knew this was different.”

.. “The mere fact of showing up ultimately makes you more acceptable, because being nice to people and talking to them beats the hell out of calling them names,”
.. “Though he does both.”

.. “Here’s a person who’s willing to expand the party, the movement. Him being accepting to gays … is one of the biggest reasons why I thought young conservatives would accept him,” she said.