TPUSA's Student Action Summit was the WrestleMania of crude misogyny
Unpacking a weekend that served as a disturbing reminder of what the GOP is all about.
I wasn’t planning to spend most of my weekend clipping and posting videos, until I briefly dipped into the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit on Friday afternoon — and immediately saw a Ted Cruz stage entrance that would’ve been a bit much for a WWE pay per view.
Minutes later, Cruz’s Tampa audience erupted after he proclaimed, “I’m Ted Cruz and my pronoun is kiss my ass.” It quickly became clear to me that the summit would serve as a useful window into the state of US conservatism in 2022. Suffice it to say it remains very, very ugly.
Before the Friday portion had ended, Ron DeSantis decried “woke math” and Marjorie Taylor Greene goaded the crowd into a loud “lock him up!” chant directed at Hunter Biden. Saturday brought a manic Donald Trump Jr. pushing bonkers conspiracy theories about Covid. That was downright normal, however, compared to Lauren Boebert, who raised far more questions than she answered when she asserted during her speech that “contrary to popular belief, I have never been an escort for Senator Ted Cruz.”
But the easy lowlight of the weekend came from Matt Gaetz, who you might recall is currently under federal investigation for sex trafficking. Gaetz, oozing misogyny, gloated over SCOTUS’s recent move to end federal abortion rights by smearing people who support them as the type of women too ugly for him to sleep with in the first place.
"Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?” he said. “Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb."
Gaetz’s entire comments about abortion — which he seemed to be reading from a teleprompter — are worth watching, if you can stomach it.
The entire TPUSA was a festival of owning the libs. To the extent that policy even came up, it consisted of things like slagging Ukraine, defending the MAGA coup attempt, and portraying the climate crisis as a hoax.
Trump’s headlining speech was rambling and featured long stretches where his audience — which was pumped up throughout the weekend by pro wrestling pyrotechnics and frat boy-style crudeness — sat in silence.
Notable passages including Trump absurdly claiming he actually finished the border wall and announcing that at one point in his presidency he told NATO countries he wouldn’t come to their defense if they were attacked by Russia. He pushed the big lie by arguing vote totals from nursing homes must’ve been falsified because residents of them are too busy dying to vote.
While Trump got the top spot at TPUSA, it was hard to miss that the night before, Fox News counterprogrammed his rally in Arizona (you can check out my thread about it beginning here) with the softball interview of all softball interviews with DeSantis, who’s widely viewed as the biggest threat to Trump’s dominant position in the GOP.
But regardless of whether the 2024 Republican nominee ends up being Trump, DeSantis, or someone else, the Student Action Summit served as a reminder that the conservative movement in the US is rotten to its core.
If you think it’s a good idea for women-haters like Gaetz to be empowered to craft a national abortion ban, then vote Republican in November. I’d like to think most Americans can see why putting the GOP back in power would be a very bad thing for the country. But I’ve been disappointed before.
Liz Cheney speaks truth to Fox
Fox’s decision to do a puff piece about DeSantis while ignoring the Trump rally wasn’t the only recent indication that Rupert Murdoch-controlled outlets are increasingly fed up with Trump. On Friday, both the the New York Post and Wall Street Journal ran editorials denouncing the former president, with the Post proclaiming he’s “unworthy to be this country’s chief executive” and the Journal describing him as “The President Who Stood Still on Jan. 6.”
Liz Cheney took note of these developments and broke the fourth wall during her Sunday appearance on Fox News Sunday.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial