The 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference kicked off in National Harbor, Maryland, on Thursday with speeches by NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, and Vice President Mike Pence. In addition to praising the health of the conservative movement, speakers focused on external threats as well as domestic enemies. In the wake of last week's high school shooting in Florida, Loesch claimed that "many in legacy media love mass shootings" because they are good for ratings, while LaPierre warned that if "European socialists" are elected to power in the United States, "our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever." Pence focused on highlighting the Trump administration's many accomplishments, saying Trump "galvanized" the Republican Party.

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