President Trump's signature coif has been the topic of much historic and current debate. During his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, Trump made an unprecedented admission about his hair: After joking with the audience about his good looks, Trump turned so they could see the back of his head, patted his hair, and commented, "I try like hell to hide that bald spot, folks."
The audience erupted in laughter and cheers as Trump went on to say: "I work hard at it. Doesn't look bad. Hey! We're hanging in." The banter about his hair would give way later in his speech to more serious topics, including the intense national debate surrounding gun control sparked by the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Trump was in very friendly territory at the CPAC event in National Harbor, Maryland. He spoke at last year's conference and based on the reaction from the crowd on Friday, Trump is quite popular with most CPAC attendees.
It hasn't always been this way. During the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election, Trump was scheduled to speak at CPAC. However, following rumors of a planned walkout, Trump withdrew from the event altogether.
But where conservatives at CPAC once approached Trump and his outlier brand of Republican with apprehension, now they seem mostly eager to embrace him.
Trump's speech progressed as a kind of hit list of his greatest accomplishments, at least in terms of how the CPAC audience would rate them. The president spoke enthusiastically of his decision to recognize Israel's official capital city as Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv. According to Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich, that moment resulted in the "loudest cheers so far from @cpac crowd."
Trump went on to talk about the importance of "taking care of our military," and singled out former Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama for criticism. He called the two men the "worst negotiators I have ever seen."
Besides describing himself as having the looks of a person he'd like to listen to, Trump had other accomplishments he wanted to celebrate. In the current president's view, his is the "most successful first year in the history of the presidency." In Trump's view, this is because the Republican-controlled Congress managed to pass tax reform and do away with many regulations.
When Trump did speak about the gun reform debate, his remarks seemed aimed mostly at assuaging any doubts about his commitment to the Second Amendment. After observing that banks and airports are equipped with high level security, Trump commented that the same is not done for "our schools."
The president signaled his alignment with the NRA-favored approach of heightening school security rather than legislating more gun control measures. Trump said, "It's time to make our schools a much harder target," and went on, "When we declare our schools to be 'gun-free zones,' it just puts our students in far more danger."
And on the issue of arming teachers, Trump voiced his approval. He spoke of the need to allow teachers concealed carry permits, arguing that shooters — "inherently cowards" — would be deterred by the possibility of return fire.
The president also ginned up angst about potential liberal legislation, warning the audience that if Democrats took control of the federal government, "they'll take away your Second Amendment."
On the other hand, Trump did express openness to gun reform. The president said they would "get it done." He's voiced support for some measures recently, such as strengthening background checks.
Trump went off-script for his CPAC speech, so it's impossible to know if his remarks on guns, or anything else, were planned.
But his admission that he not only has a bald spot, but has one he attempts to hide, was probably part of the final draft.