These are my continuing highlights from the American Conservative Union’s (ACU) Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). I am capturing as many cogent remarks by the speakers as possible in order to convey the highlights to readers. I previously posted my notes from the early morning Thursday session here, here, and here and Day 2 Part I here.
From the “Socialism and the Great Awakening” session with Jon Miller (Blaze TV), Joshua Philipp (Epoch Times), Jarrett Stepman (Daily Signal), Brandon Straka (#Walkaway Campaign), Morgan Zegers (Young Americans Against Socialism), moderated by Ian Walters (ACU):
- Stepman: History is being rewritten to serve the Left’s political purpose. There is an effort with the NY Times’s 1619 Project to propagate the ideology of victimhood. The Left focuses on things that are negative in American history, not the good things that the country has achieved. Washington and Lincoln weren’t white heroes; they were American heroes. The idea of the 1619 Project is to attack capitalism. Capitalism and slavery are NOT linked; in reality, slavery is more easily linked to socialism. The US is about hope for the future; we aspire to be a more perfect union, and that’s what makes America great. The Left’s rewriting of history has been happening for a long time, e.g., Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the US. Common Core is a transmission belt for revisionist history and socialism. Education is the battleground for the future of America. The differences between a socialist/communist system and the US could not be starker. This is what we need to emphasize when we talk to our family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
- Miller: “Being Conservative is the new black.” If you’re black and can’t get a job, it’s probably because you’re not qualified to get the job. There are way more incentives for minority hiring than people really know. “Woke” means politically-correct behavior, as well as to suppress the views of conservatives. If you say that America was the greatest country in the world, etc., you have no voice in woke culture.
- Straka: We are at a crossroads. This is the most important election in my lifetime. One candidate is a free-market advocate; the other is a socialist. The President is fighting for the American people. God has an incredible sense of humor. It’s not a coincidence that a former liberal like me is bringing forgotten and marginalized people into the conservative movement. There is no longer any excuse for letting the legacy media define you; you don’t have to be silent anymore and can make your views known by speaking out via social media. The Left are marketing themselves to identity groups. Conservatives need to do the same thing – and get people to embrace their identities as Americans.
- Miller: You can call anyone a racist and immediately shut people down. I’ve even been called a white nationalist (because that’s all they’ve got). We aren’t going to let them define us; we’re going to fight back, and we won’t be silenced.
- Philipp: Socialism is the dictatorship of the proletariat; the government will seize control all parts of society. Socialism is about remaking society from top to bottom. To become socialist, there are two ways: violent revolution and “democratic socialism.” The latter is that they convince people to vote for a totalitarian regime. There is a resurgence of people who are figuring out how bad socialism is.
- Zegers: The younger generations are about freedom, entrepreneurialism, and fairness. This is contrary to the end result of socialism. Bernie Sanders’s message turns the definition of freedom inside-out by claiming that you’re not free unless you have things like Medicare-for-All.
- Philipp: China is an authoritarian socialist regime. The government and the ChiCom party come first. The Chinese have state capitalism – controlling every economic activity. It is a system of slavery, denying people of the fruits of their labor.
- Zegers: Our goal is to win young people over. The Left uses climate change to fear-monger in order to remake the economy. We need to convey that we love the environment and want to conserve it, too [but not by radically restructuring the economy].
From “A Conversation with Director Scott Turner (White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council) and Administrator Andrew Wheeler (EPA)” session, moderated by Lawrence Jones (Fox News)
- Turner: The spirit of opportunity zones is economic and personal development. Our President is very supportive of entrepreneurship, especially in disadvantaged areas. It’s about long-term sustainability. We want to have an inter-generational impact on the country. Building career and technical centers is a big part of the plan (“trade schools”).
- Wheeler: We are working proactively from non-attainment to attainment in terms of air quality standards. That’s important for economic growth because new businesses only go into areas that are compliant with air quality. Our air pollution is 75% lower than it was in 1974. Our air and water are cleaner today than ever. Over 92% of our water systems meet the standards each and every day.
- Turner: People need to understand that the President is a business-minded leader. He sees opportunity everywhere, and he is clearing the way for development in inner cities and other depressed areas.
- Wheeler: We want to make sure that the environment is clean and safe for future generations.
- Turner: It’s one thing to have jobs; it’s another thing to ensure people are trained for those jobs. We are working hard on job training programs through government-business-labor partnerships.
- Wheeler: We’re always looking to hire risk assessors, public waterworks workers, and other jobs where the workforce is old and needs to be replaced. Our environment is the cleanest it has ever been. We are trying to make things more transparent – the cost/benefits of all regulations. All of the EPA guidance documents are now accessible via the web for the first time (just today). That includes any scientific studies used to justify a regulation.
- Turner: Opportunityzones.gov is the website that compiles all information and news about opportunity zones.
- Jones: Revitalization (of depressed areas) is a conservative issue. The White House is on the job making it happen.
From the Working Towards Citizens First Solutions” session, with Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli (DHS) and Rich Valdes (This is America), moderated by Deneen Borelli (Fox News Contributor):
- Cuccinelli: Pressure from the feds is making an impact on the incarceration of illegal aliens, even in liberal cities and states.
- Valdes: The Left is all about registration of illegal aliens under the census because it’s all about money and appropriations.
- Cuccinelli: Immigration policy used to be bipartisan and about common sense. Now, the Left uses immigration policy as a means to obtain political power.
- Valdes: It’s important to have a wall. I’m a Latino and appreciate the Latino experience, but I’m also an American concerned about preserving our country. It’s important given the Coronavirus contagion, too.
- Cuccinelli: The Border Patrol folks pass sick people on to ICE for processing. We are still at a crisis level by virtue of the numbers of people still coming across the border and the quarantine requirements – not just for Coronavirus screening. We’ve never dealt with mass illegal immigration and a global pandemic before. The President has been very aggressive about Coronavirus [he is a germophobe and is rebalancing relations with China – perfect for the job]. Safety of the American people is the number one priority of the president.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s remarks:
- There are 74,000 people in the State Dept and US embassies around the world.
- Mission: keep Americans safe and secure.
- We are ridding the world of demonic, evil people (Qassem Soleimani, Hamsa Bin Laden, Al-Baghdadi and others).
- Our other mission is to advance American values, such as religious liberty. God has blessed this country as the standard-bearer for religious liberty. If we don’t defend religious freedom, no one else will.
- We are aligning US foreign aid with American values. No US dollars will go to support abortion anywhere in the world. President Trump understands evil, and abortion is evil.
- Realism, restraint, and respect: key elements in executing our foreign policy.
- We have set clear expectations of what it means to be on America’s side. This is President Trump’s foreign policy personified.
- They said we’d never defeat ISIS, and the caliphate is gone.
- They said Mexico and Canada would never rework NAFTA, and they did.
- They said we would never rescind JCPOA with Iran, and we did.
- They said taking out Soleimani would lead to WW-III, and it’s actually made the world safer.
- I am frequently challenged by people who oppose America’s foreign policy. Friend or foe, they all know President Trump means business, and that America is a force for good.
Jared Kushner’s (advisor to the President and son-in-law) remarks, as interviewed by Matt Schlapp (ACU chairman):
- In 2015, we in the Trump family were all just living our lives when the President made the decision to run for the presidency. It was a family effort, just as the President wanted it to be.
- The President didn’t want to do things just because that’s the way they were done before.
- Everything that worked in 2016 has been kept, and new things have been added such that the high drama of the learning experience in the first term will be a thing of the past. The President is not afraid to try new things and fail, then try other things.
- The President is about solving problems, not playing politics. Deregulation has been a big part of the economic improvement and the outlook for the future.
- The President unleashed American energy. Lower energy costs are a boost to the rest of the economy.
- All of the costs of doing trade deals were borne in the first term; the benefits will be in the out-years.
- The President is pushing to rebuild a strong manufacturing sector in the US.
- By the end of the year, we’ll have 400 miles of new border wall. That frees up the Border Patrol agents for other missions besides interdiction and surveillance.
- The President is getting better and better on solving problems; I expect him to get twice as much done during his second term.
- The President doesn’t do things for political reasons; he does what he thinks is right for the American people.
- It will be exciting to hear the President say what he has planned for his second term over the next few months.
- The Trumps are doing this because they all really love this country. They want to see all Americans achieve their potential.
Day 2, Part II ends here. More to follow!