Trump vows to campaign hard for GOP next year in video message

President Donald Trump talks to reporters during a meeting with Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State and national security adviser under President Richard Nixon, in the Oval Office of the White House on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Story highlights

  • President Donald Trump thanked Republican National Committee members
  • The annual meeting showed a sharp contrast to Trump's relationship to his party

Coronado, California (CNN)President Donald Trump's takeover of the Republican Party was on vivid display as its leadership gathered for their first spring meeting of his administration.

The President didn't attend in person, but Trump recorded a five-minute video message that was played for many of the Republican National Committee's 168 members and their guests Friday.
In the message, Trump touted the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and pledged to campaign heavily for House and Senate candidates during the 2018 midterms.
    "I'll be going around to different states. I'll be working hard for people running for Congress and the people running for the Senate. We can pick up a lot of seats, especially if it keeps going the way it's going now," Trump said.
    He also breezed through his agenda, calling for tax reform that will "provide significant middle-class tax relief." He pledged that "$4 or $5 trillion" be repatriated as a result of GOP tax reform.
    On immigration, Trump said that "we must strengthen our military and defend our borders if we have any hope of keeping our people safe."
    Trump drew laughs when he said he was "undoing the horrible damage" done by former President Barack Obama.
    "And believe me, that damage was horrible," he said.
    The speech aimed at rallying attendees thanked the RNC's members for "all of the support and hard work" on his behalf.
    "I'm working very hard here in Washington on the issues voters sent us here to fix, and we are fixing them rapidly. And really, I think you're going to be very proud of the end result," he said.
    Trump gave a "special thank you" to the RNC's leadership, naming finance chairman Steve Wynn first.
    "Don't forget, we set lots of records -- and I think we're going to do even better next time," Trump said.
    Trump's takeover of the Republican Party's official infrastructure has happened at a remarkable pace.
    It was less than two years ago when Republicans were crafting a "loyalty pledge" designed to prevent Trump from running as an independent if -- as expected at the time -- he didn't win the Republican presidential nomination.
    But last year at this time, Trump had finally knocked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich out of the GOP nominating contest even as a "Never Trump" movement attempted to stave off his nomination.
    Now, though, the party committee is rapidly adding pro-Trump members -- 12 more were initiated at the spring meeting -- and national chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel's top applause lines in her Friday remarks were all focused on Trump and the Democrat he bested in the 2016 election.
    In his first four months in office, she said, Trump has "enacted 28 pieces of legislation, signed 25 executive orders, re-energized our economy, rolled back regulations and red tape and advocated to strengthen our national defense."
    She also tossed red meat to the RNC members, taking a page out of Trump's book and revisiting the 2016 election to bash Hillary Clinton.
    "Can you imagine what our country would look like if it were Hillary Clinton in the White House? As a dishonest career flip-flopper who couldn't properly handle her own email account, she would've been a rubber stamp for more of Obama's extreme agenda," Romney McDaniel said.
    She said if Clinton had won, the Supreme Court "would be led by liberal activists who would treat the Constitution like a doormat," and who would have a "weak foreign policy message."
    As for Democrats, Romney McDaniel said: "They boycotted the inauguration. They filibustered our Supreme Court nominee. They have put politics above people, and Americans deserve better. They deserve a party that will fight for the people they represent."
    "The people I talk to in Michigan finally feel like they have a voice in the White House who represents them," she said.