[Photo: Donald Trump arrives at the 2011 CPAC. (Photo by Chris Geidner.)]
GOProud's board chairman, Chris Barron, decided he wanted to invite Donald Trump to CPAC.
So, he did.
Today, Trump arrived at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel about 3 p.m. this afternoon, Feb. 10.
Of the invitation, Barron told Metro Weekly, "We invited Trump for a couple of reasons: One, because unlike the boycotters who are undermining CPAC, we wanted to be value-added, we wanted to be positive to this conference, and we're bringing something positive to this conference. We're bringing somebody who has a huge megaphone, a huge draw.
"Secondly, Donald Trump is out there talking about the issues that most conservatives care about, the fiscal issues."
Before his speech to the CPAC crowd, Trump was asked by a reporter, "Are you here to be here on behalf of the group GOProud CPAC*, on behalf of Donald Trump, or are because you're running for president?"
He replied, "I'm here because I'm Donald Trump. I was asked to be here. I have a lot of respect for the group. I'm a Republican. Let's see what happens."
He also took a question about Egypt, then was whisked up to the GOProud suite at CPAC.
Fifteen minutes later, Trump came down to speak to the attendees, where he did focus on fiscal issues -- specifically China. But, he also did tell the attendees: "I'm pro-life, against gun control, and I will fight to end Obamacare and replace it with something that makes sense."
He did not mention GOProud or LGBT issues.
Trump also -- like GOProud -- knew how to make a stir at CPAC. He took on the past year's winner of the CPAC presidential straw poll, saying of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), "He has just zero chance of getting elected."
A significant part of the auditorium's crowd booed.
Otherwise, Trump was well-received by the conservative conference's attendees.
Despite the absence of any mention of GOProud by Trump in his brief address, Barron said, "I think that fact he's coming here, amidst all of this controversy and showing support for this organization, and showing support for CPAC under this attack, speaks volumes about what kind of person he is."
[* = CORRECTION: A transcription error by yours truly unintentionally changed the meaning of Donald Trump's response to the CNN reporter who asked the question. The "group" to which Trump was referring was GOProud, not CPAC. Apologies to Trump, CNN and GOProud. -crg]