“What is Trumpism?” A new term being used more and more. I’m hearing that term more and more. I didn’t come up with it. But what it means is great deals, great trade deals. Great ones, not deals where we give away everything, our jobs, our money, like the USMCA replacement of the horrible NAFTA. NAFTA was one of the worst deals ever made, probably the worst trade deal ever made, and we ended it. A lot of people forget, we ended it… It means low taxes and eliminating job-killing regulations, Trumpism. It means strong borders, but people coming into our country based on a system of merit… It means no riots in the streets. It means law enforcement. It means very strong protection for the Second Amendment and the right to keep and bear arms. It means support for the forgotten men and women who have been taken advantage of for so many years.

In my previous trips to CPAC I looked forward to a whirlwind weekend of speakers, meeting old friends, making new ones, and of course, parties, that CPAC has to offer. While this year was no different in that regard, the recent passing of the legendary talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, the covid restrictions, and the daily, endless, perfidious attacks on our liberties and the foundation of this nation, created a more serious and somber tone. Of the countless, memorable speakers, events, and moments, some of the noteworthy highlights include heartfelt tributes to Rush Limbaugh, speeches from, Kristi Noem, Ron DeSantis, Ben Carson, much needed levity from Larry O’Connor and the marquee event from the former president, Trump. The consummating address delineated concerns of the current administration’s anti-American agenda and provided hope for “uncanceling” America with a “Trumpian” America first initiative to reinforce the voice of patriots, combat the socialistic agenda, and restore America to its founding principles, or as the saying goes MAGA.

Trump’s speech was more reminiscent of a much-awaited SOTU address expected of the current President, rather than a keynote speech for CPAC. Patriotism, comradery, and anticipation, filled the air as guests awaited the former president’s first speech since leaving office. Explicitly depicting contracting visions for America, his central themes could be categorized as, elucidating the dangers of the current administration’s socialistic plans, highlighting his own accomplishments, and inspiring hope for the future. Trump contends it’s an America first vs. America last program.

He criticized Biden and his administration, asserting that in a short time they have jeopardized America’s standing in the world, and threatened the bedrock, and moral fabric of this nation. “Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history. That’s true. Already the Biden administration has proven that they are anti jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women, and anti-science. In just one short month, we have gone from America first to America last. You think about it, right? America last.” (min 6:48)

A few notable critiques of the Biden administration Trump addressed:

  •     Biden Administration reversed American first policies
  •     Rejoined the WHO for $500 million a year
  •     Rejoined Paris accord
  •     Canceling the border
  •     Canceling women’s sports
  •     Canceling the keystone pipeline 
  •     Favoring wind energy
  •     “urged Congress to pass legislation shredding your Second Amendment.” (min 29:38) 
  •     Kowtowing to the teacher’s unions

Conversely Trump’s America First Agenda is pro-jobs, pro-family, defending our borders, promoting religious liberty, and valuing the Constitution: “We’re in the middle of a historic struggle for America’s future, America’s culture, and America’s institutions, borders, and most cherished principles. Our security, our prosperity, and our very identity as Americans is at stake.” He championed his administration’s achievements regarding economic-growth, claiming they built the economy twice, America first trade deals, foreign policies, energy independence, operation warp speed, and patriotic education.  “You had free oil almost for a period of time and one way I was proud of it, but we also had to save the energy industry and it worked out well. And I dealt with Russia and Saudi Arabia and they cut back on production and we got it back up. But now it’s going the opposite because now they are taking this incredible energy independence away from the people of our country” (min 42:47)

Regarding operation warp speed Trump reminds his audience that it was his administration not Biden’s who deserves credit, “As conservatives and Republicans, never forget that we did it. Never let them take the credit because they don’t deserve the credit … They’re following our plan.” Albeit incontestably one of the most impressive procedural and distribution executions in history, it’s understandable why he stressed where credit is due. However, I wish he had spent less time praising and defending his accomplishment, and more time accentuating the importance of medical freedom. While in office he maintained that operation warp speed would make injections accessible to those who desired them, but he would never mandate it. It’s imperative that appreciation for the impressive implementation of this operation, does not mitigate the need for individual choice regarding health.

Carving a pathway forward, Trump underscored the importance of party unity, standing on conservative, pro-American principles, election integrity, and fighting cancel-culture to restore free speech. He denounced the rumors of starting a new political party encouraging the GOP to unite and stand against the perilous ideologies and policies facing America. “We’re not starting new parties…. It’s [The GOP is] going to unite and be stronger than ever before.” “Instead of attacking me and more importantly the voters of our movement, top establishment Republicans in Washington should be spending their energy in opposing Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and the Democrats.” Trump urged the RINO’s to be purged saying “get rid of them all” and listed them by name. He emphasized the importance of election integrity, condemning the 2020 election, and enumerated several remedies for the future, but declared none of it will matter without freedom of speech.

“Yet all of the election integrity measures in the world will mean nothing if we don’t have free speech. That’s where we’re at now. If Republicans can be censored for speaking the truth and calling out corruption, we will not have democracy, and we will have only left-wing tyranny.” (1:10:52) He ended his speech echoing this sentiment “Together in the coming years,” he said, “we will carry forward the torch of American liberty. We will lead the conservative movement and Republican Party back to a totally conclusive victory. … Together, we will make America prouder, freer, stronger, and greater than it ever has been before.” To get to that stage we need to summon the courage to stand for truth, and “uncancel” America, because as Aristotle reminds us, “Courage is the mother of all virtues because without it, you cannot consistently perform the others.”

Courtenay Turner

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