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Top White House officials appeal to conservatives to rally behind Trump

WASHINGTON: US Vice-President Mike Pence and other top White House officials urged conservative activists on Thursday to set aside differences and unite behind President Donald Trump's agenda of stressing tough trade and immigration policies.

Addressing the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), in Maryland, Mr Pence rallied theRepublicans who helped elect Mr Trump.

"This is the time to prove again that our answers are the right answers for America," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump's chief strategist, Mr Steve Bannon, made a rare public appearance to appeal for support for the President.

"We want you to have our back" in upcoming battles, he told the gathering, denouncing media criticism of Mr Trump.

He sought to dispel a sense of disorder in the White House portrayed in media accounts.

He blamed the "globalist media that are adamantly opposed to an economic nationalist agenda" under Mr Trump.

The CPAC, once a fringe event but now in the Republican mainstream, is being attended by an estimated 10,000 activists.

Its organisers are trying to steer clear of controversy over the alt-right movement, a group that includes neo-Nazis, white supremacists and anti-Semites that Mr Trump has been slow to denounce.- REUTERS

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