American conservatives were all smiles at an annual convention in Washington, but beneath the surface lurk tensions central to how Republicans will govern for the next two years and the 2018 election outlook.
At the four-day Conservative Political Action Conference, once a fringe event that is now decidedly in the Republican mainstream, U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will drop by to help fire up an estimated 10,000 activists in attendance.
Prior to the event Sean Hannity, Fox New's pro-Trump conservative firebrand, broadcasted live from the CPAC event hall interviewing senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and Trump terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka.
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Hannity interviewed Sebastian Gorka about Trump's counter-terrorism efforts, launching into the interview asking Gorka if a major attack against America is "not a matter of if, but when?"
Gorka, who like Steve Bannon has come to the White House via Breitbart, summarized the threat of Islamic terrorism with a quote he claims comes from a holocaust survivor, "When a group of people repeatedly say, 'they want to kill you,' sooner or later you should take them seriously."
Gorka, who describes himself on Twitter as an "Irregular Warfare Strategist," is the author of Defeating Jihad and a regular media guest defending Trump's currently stayed refugee and immigrant ban.
"When you go to bed, do you lock the front door to your house?" Gorka asked Hannity when discussing the ban. "Yeah, and then I put my gun next to my bed and go to sleep," replied Hannity. "So, if you do that, then surely the border is our front door, surely we should have a controller who enters our house," argued Gorka in support for stricter screening and border enforcement.
Hannity interviewed Gorka immediately after Kellyanne Conway. The appearance marked Conway's first in a week, after multiple missteps and reports that she had been "sidelined" from within the administration. "I'm not sidelined. Somebody's trying to stir up trouble,'"she told Hannity.
"If I'm out for a few days with four kids looking at houses and schools, a lot of my colleagues aren't trying to figure out how to be a mother of four kids I assure you," she continued. Conway went on the accuse the media of having "presumptive negativity" towards Trump.