WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. President Donald Trump has stepped up his defensive rhetoric as his presidency become more and more embroiled in controversy and potential impeachment proceedings.
He was in top form at the 2019 Value Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham hotel in the capital on Saturday night.
The group's annual summits have been featuring Mr Trump's attendance since 2016 when he was a presidential candidate. He has also appeared in 2017, 2018 and now the 2019 summit. He is the only U.S. president to have attended the summits, organized by a group whose members hold strong anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage stances.
President Trump pointed to his approval ranking being at 94% without designating which poll had arrived at that figure. He said if he hadn't won the 2016 election, America would be in a third world war by now.
He attacked the Democrats and insisted the IRS is being used as a political weapon against him.
"We meet tonight at a crucial moment in our nation's history," he said. "Our shared values are under assault like never before. Extreme left-wing radicals, both inside and outside government, are determined to shred our Constitution and eradicate the beliefs we all cherish. Far-left socialists are trying to tear down the traditions and customs that made America the greatest nation on Earth. They reject the principles of our Founding Fathers - principles enshrined into the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that our rights come from our creator."
"But despite the delusions of the radical left, all of us here today know that our rights come from God almighty, and they can never be taken away," the president said to rapturous applause.
"Together, we will protect those God-given rights for our children, our children's children, and generations of Americans to come. On every front, the ultra-left is waging war on the values shared by everyone in this room. They are trying to silence and punish the speech of Christians and religious believers of all faiths. You know it better than anyone. They are trying to use the courts to rewrite the laws, undermine democracy, and force through an agenda they can't pass at the ballot box. They just can't seem to do it, can they?"
"They are trying to hound you from the workplace, expel you from the public square, and weaken the American family, and indoctrinate our children. They resent and disdain faithful Americans who hold fast to our nation's historic values. And, if given the chance, they would use every instrument of government power, including the IRS, to try to shut you down. They are using the IRS against me," exclaimed Mr Trump.
"Generations of Americans before us did not work. They fight, they sacrifice, they do so much, but we will never ever - no matter what happens - surrender our liberty. The word "liberty" is so important. To the radical left: Together we will stand up to the socialists and we will win massive victories for family, for faith, and for freedom, just like the victory we had in 2016."
"With every bit of heart and soul, we will defend our country - the most just and virtuous republic in the history of the Earth. And yet I say that, and those words are beautiful, but it is starting to change. And we're going to stop that start," said the president
"The hateful spirit that consumes the modern left violates every tenant of the American tradition. The radical left tolerates no dissent. It permits no opposition. It accepts no compromise. And we - look, we have all seen it; we see what's going on. There is no compromise. Frankly, these people are crazy. They're crazy. They are crazy. I shouldn't say it, because we're all the same, but they are crazy."
"And as we have seen in the last three years, the extreme left has absolutely no respect for the will of the American people. They are determined to stop our movement and impose their agenda by any means necessary. It makes no difference to them," said Mr Trump.
"First, it was the Russia hoax. It was a total hoax - made up. Then there was the outrageous smearing of Justice Kavanaugh - that goes on. They want him impeached, even when the woman said, "I don't know that anything happened. Nothing happened." They said, "Let's impeach him anyway." And the whole thing was phony. So phony. He's a good man. What he's gone through, I don't know if anyone's ever gone through anything like that."
"And now it is the outrageous impeachment - look, impeachment. I never thought I'd see or hear that word with regard to me - "impeachment." I said, the other day, "It's an ugly word." To me, it's an ugly word - a very ugly word. It means so much. It means horrible, horrible crimes and things. I can't even believe it," said the president.
...."Even with China, the other day, they were saying it's incredible what you've done. Our economy is up many, many trillions of dollars. Their economy is down many, many trillions of dollars. Big gap."
"We would have been number two by now if our opponent had won. They would have been way ahead of us, and now they're way behind. And that's okay," said Trump.
"We made a great (trade) deal yesterday. We have yet to get it papered, but we will. Because they want to make that deal. They want to make that deal because they've never had pressure like this."
"And I don't blame China, by the way. I blame the people that were leading our country for 25 years, allowing that to happen - where $500 billion is being taken out of our country and given to China so they can rebuild their entire empire. So I never blamed China, and I say that openly. I say it in every speech. I don't blame China. I wish we could have done it to them. I would have loved it. And now maybe we are," the U.S. president said.
"They're trying to destroy anyone opposed to their goal of fundamentally transforming the United States of America. The one thing about the radical Democrats that is something that you have to admire: They stick together. The Republicans don't, and I love the Republicans."
"They have horrible policies - the Democrats. They are for sanctuary cities - the Democrats. They are against strong, powerful, beautiful - I love our law enforcement. They believe in open borders, where anybody can come into our country - anybody. You have to see. And we've done a great job. No support, only opposition," Mr Trump said.
"We have 27,000 Mexican soldiers on our border and the numbers are dropped, like, off the table. And I want to thank the President of Mexico and Mexico for doing an incredible job.|"
"But the Democrats have one thing: They stick together. They're like glue. And it's been that way for a long time - not just now. For whatever it is, it's been that way for a long time, and it's the one trait that I do respect and even admire. They stick together. They don't have people coming out against the President," he said.
"And, you know, I am at 94 percent approval rating, but still you have people out there - they don't get it. They don't get it. So we love the Republicans. We love what we're doing. We love our programs. And in many cases, we're better politicians than them. We have much better policies. We want strong borders. We want powerful education. We want freedom of speech. We want a strong military."
The president covered a range of other topics. He hit out at the American-led invasion of Iraq, reminding those in attendance he was opposed to to it. Astonishingly he insultingly blamed the intelligence agencies.
"And just so you know, wars and economies don't go well together, okay? You can check that out. So despite all of the blood that was spilled, the lives lost, and the money that was spent, the Middle East is right now - remember, and I say it. I'll say it: Going in was the worst decision. They went in for weapons of mass destruction, and there were none. There were none. That was the intelligence agencies. They're real - real beauties," he said.
(File photo: Presidential candidate Donald Trump at his first summit in 2016).