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Trump addresses the Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference on December 07, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

To prevent leaks from Trump's Friday night Mar-a-Lago speech to RNC donors, security guards made attendees put their cellphones in magnetized pouches that they carried around like purses until they left the club.

So leakers had to rely on their memories. Trump entered to Lee Greenwood’s "Proud to Be an American," then launched into one of his trademark stream-of-consciousness speeches, according to three people who were there. They said the crowd roared with laughter throughout.

Some of his remarks raised eyebrows.

1. Referring to the recent anti-Semitism controversies with Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, Trump told the donors: "The Democrats hate Jewish people."

  • Trump said he didn't understand how any Jew could vote for a Democrat these days. Trump talked about how much he'd done for Israel, noting his historic decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
  • Trump said if he could run to be prime minister of Israel, he'd be at 98% in the polls, according to three sources who were there.

2. Trump went off on what one guest called a "bizarre tangent." He described being home alone in the White House over Christmas "while the Democrats were in Hawaii."

  • Trump described opening his curtain to look at Secret Service agents swarming the White House lawn. "They're in the trees, on the lawn," he said.
  • He said he saw agents wearing night vision goggles. "They're in blackface," Trump added, jokingly referring to the masks over the agents' faces.
  • Trump joked that the agents were "in blackface" because of the masks so maybe "they have to take them away," according to two sources who were there. (The sources assumed Trump was referring to the recent controversy in which the Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was caught in a racist costume in his 1984 medical school yearbook.)

Behind the scenes: The confab was for the RNC to update its donors on its activities. Secretaries Wilbur Ross and Linda McMahon attended, as did Don Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Guests munched on surf and turf under a tent with dangling chandeliers. Many of the private discussions turned to the 2020 race.

  • Trump only mentioned three 2020 Democrats in his remarks: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
  • Trump called Biden "the dummy."
  • He announced that he now calls Sanders "the nutty professor" instead of "Crazy Bernie."
  • Referring to Warren's low poll numbers, Trump said he "took her out really early" and that he doesn't want to do that to anybody else.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
15 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.

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