A number of America’s leading Never-Trump luminaries, including Bill Kristol, Evan McMullin, Rick Wilson, Amanda Carpenter, Tom Nichols and Ramesh Ponnuru, held a conference in Washington D.C. on Saturday to an audience of about 200 supporters.
Timed to compete with the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the “Summit on Principled Conservatism” was hosted by Principles First, in partnership with Stand Up Republic, both of which describe themselves as “grassroots” organizations.
Principles First, founded by “conservative” consultant Heath Mayo, claims to be an “entirely self-funded, volunteer organization” that is “committed to rediscovering and championing principles in the 21st century.”
Stand Up Republic is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization led by failed 2016 presidential candidate Evan McMullin and his running mate, Mindy Finn to take down President Trump. Stand Up Republic is funded by Ebay founder and left-wing financier Pierre Omidyar and the left-of-center Hewlett Foundation.
The Omidyars have been among the most prolific supporters of left-wing causes for years, American Greatness reporter Julie Kelly pointed out in a ground-breaking report in November of 2018.
According to a 2014 report by the Media Research Center, “Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Pierre Omidyar, Tom Steyer and George Soros’s son, Jonathan are major funders of the left. Together, they have contributed at least $2.7 billion since 2000 to groups pushing abortion, gun control, climate change alarmism and liberal candidates.”
Omidyar has also donated millions to left-wing billionaire George Soros’s pet projects, “including the Open Society Foundations, a main funder of Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Center for American Progress,” Kelly reported.
The Open Society Foundations lists as its goals: “creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, cutting the number of prison inmates by 50%, enacting comprehensive immigration reform, increasing welfare handouts, and raising taxes to redistribute wealth.”
No principled conservatives would align themselves with someone who has dedicated his life to defeating conservative causes. But Kristol, who actively opposes Republican candidates and tweets about his “inner socialist,” clearly is no longer a conservative, if he ever really was one.
As someone who has literally written a book on these Never-Trump grifters, Kelly was eager to attend their “Summit on Principled Conservatism” and confront them face to face. She was joined by Human events Editor-in-Chief Will Chamberain, and this reporter.
Spotting the three of us in the front row on the left side of the room, McMullin came over and attempted to shake our hands. Chamberlain, a gentleman, gamely extended his hand. But Kelly and Heine refused.
1.) He’s happy to have his never-Trump activities funded by a left-wing plutocrat who is hostile to conservative principles.
2.) He’s a dishonest weasel.
After he entered the presidential race in 2016, McMullin insisted in interview after interview that he was not a “spoiler candidate” trying to throw the election to Hillary Clinton. Sad to say, a lot of conservatives fell for it.
He finally admitted the obvious that October when he said he was trying to earn enough electoral votes to prevent “someone who I believe is a true authoritarian from taking power in the United States and that’s Donald Trump.”
How’s that for “principled conservatism?”
McMullin’s never-Trump network pushes for ending “gerrymandering” by redrawing congressional maps (most likely to favor Democrats), enacting redistributionist policies to address “economic inequality,” and abolishing the Electoral College.
In a 2018 report, Stand Up Republic said that Americans must “review how our democratic structures should work in a time of division and social change” when “the Senate . . . and the Electoral College can deny the majority the ability to govern.”
“Principled conservatism” indeed.
But they sure talk a good game. Both McMullin and Mayo gave lip service to familiar conservative platitudes during their opening remarks at the conference.
After a solemn sermon by Evan McMullin about principles and values and respect for others, Charlie Sykes wonders aloud how the “crazies” have taken over conservatives. Now introducing Kristol, Charen, and Ponnuru as “thought leaders.”
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) February 29, 2020
But while the panelists spoke loftily of conservative values, they stayed away from substantive issues that affect all of us.
Things not discussed at #PrinciplesFirst: Losing foreign wars, lousy trade pacts, illegal immigration, 2A, a rogue administrative state, activist judiciary, abortion. (One mention by Ponnuru.)
Many mentions: Principles, rule of law, Bad Orange Man, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, CPAC.
— Julie Kelly (@julie_kelly2) February 29, 2020
A “Principles First” information packet included a list of 15 important principles “to anchor our politics to core values.”
Solid conservative principles like: “Integrity, Character and Virtue,” “Every Person has quality dignity, & worth,” “Truth, honesty, rationality, and facts are non-negotiable,” and “The Constitution and Rule of Law are paramount.”
It all sounds wonderful, but with never-Trump conservatives, it’s always best to examine what their “principles” look like in practice.
Rick Wilson is known for using degrading language to describe Trump supporters. Other “principled conservatives” on the panel referred to Trump supporters as “crazies” and “cultists.”
“At the most fundamental level, we are principled conservatives because we believe in the tremendous potential of every human being,” McMullin said in his opening remarks. “The pursuit of happiness is our most basic purpose.”
Lovely. Of course, when most conservatives hear the term “potential of every human being,” they think about the unborn and how millions of potential human lives have been destroyed since abortion was legalized in 1973.
But that does not seem to a priority issue with “principled” conservatives like CNN contributor Tara Sethmayer, who sat on the “Politics of Conservatism” panel at the Principled Conservatism summit. Sethmayer praised extreme pro-abortion Democrat Buttigieg on Sunday after he dropped out of the Democrat primary, calling him “a breath of fresh air.”
And so the exodus begins. @PeteButtigieg ran a great campaign and was a breath of fresh air. He definitely has a future in the Democratic Party.
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) March 1, 2020
Most conservatives viewed Buttigieg as a smug and disingenuous lightweight who cynically distorted Christian doctrine while taking radical policy positions, including “few if any restrictions on abortion.”
But he sure was a favorite of the left-wing funded NeverTrump bunch.
William Kristol, whose non-profit advocacy group “Defending Democracy together,” also receives funding from Omidyar and the Hewlett Foundation, gushed about Buttigieg’s chances on CNN, last fall.
“So I think the key for Buttigieg is Iowa, Iowa, Iowa,” Kristol said. “He needs to be top three, if he were top two, that would be even better. If he won, that would be even better. And then he could really take off.”
So in practice, what do these “principled” conservatives’ really mean when they say they believe in the tremendous potential and dignity of every human being?
Do these principled panelists really believe in the dignity of every human being?
Chamberlain wanted to ask that question during the first panel’s question answer period. But they stopped answering questions just before it was his turn.
Sensing that they were being purposefully avoided, Kelly and Chamberlain stood in the back of the room for the entire second panel so they could be first to the microphone for the second round of questions. This time, Chamberlain was able to ask his question.
“Your fellow panelist has called Trump supporters ‘ten-toothed rubes’ and has referred to them as being unable to read,” Chamberlain pointed out. “Do you think those comments are appropriate?” he asked the panel. Tim Miller, a Bulwark contributor, responded by saying he disagreed with Wilson’s comments, but Wilson himself doubled down.
“Is everyone in this room human scum?” Wilson asked.
Chamberlain quickly answered,”no” and added that he disagreed with the notion that everyone who doesn’t support the president is “human scum.”
Wilson was referring to a particularly acerbic Tweet from President Trump last October when the impeachment farce with raging and never-Trumpers were fanning the flames.
“The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats,” Trump tweeted. “Watch out for them, they are human scum!”
The Never Trumper Republicans, though on respirators with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our Country than the Do Nothing Democrats. Watch out for them, they are human scum!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
The tweet was clearly directed toward his well-funded Republican critics who are leading the never-Trump movement to undermine his presidency—not everyone who isn’t a Trump supporter. Certainly, it was not one of the president’s finest moments, but there is a vast difference between aiming your fire at people with power and at people without power.
“Everyone in this room has a principled conservative stand, okay?” Wilson continued, (although it wasn’t actually clear that everyone in the room was conservative). “And I’m sorry that the ‘f— your feelings’ crowd can’t take the fact that I’m a pirate and that I talk the way I do,” Wilson said to Chamberlain.
“The fact of the matter is, I’m not going to give you a participation trophy and let you wear some mantle of victimization because you’ve embraced a guy who puts kids in cages,” Wilson added before Chamberlain noted, “That was started with Obama.”
“You embraced a guy who shits on the rule of law of the Constitution … and if I call you a name, tough,” Wilson said.
— Will Chamberlain ?? (@willchamberlain) February 29, 2020
Chamberlain later discussed his experience at the Never-Trump summit in a Periscope video he posted on Twitter.
— Will Chamberlain ?? (@willchamberlain) February 29, 2020
The panel then took two questions from the other side of the room to avoid taking a question from Kelly, who was going to confront them about their left-wing funding.
Principled conservative Rick Wilson later took to Twitter to personally insult Kelly:
You looked so much dumber in person, which I didn’t think was possible. https://t.co/j7KKg2p199
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) February 29, 2020
Kelly tweeted back, “Funny you didn’t say that to my face” and “Maybe because you come up to my shoulder blades.”
The trio left during the lunch break as there were planes to catch, and frankly two hours of listening to fake conservatives spouting their tedious B.S was quite enough.
There is no legitimate reason why a “principled conservative” would support Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, or Joe Biden (not to mention Hillary Clinton in 2016) against a reliably conservative president. Nonetheless, Kristol on Twitter Monday advocated for Biden, Klobuchar and Buttigieg to join forces to take down Trump.
If Biden can bring Amy and Pete together tonight, he can bring the country together in November.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) March 2, 2020
From an actual conservative point of view, all of the Democrats running would be a disaster—not only for conservatives—but for the whole country, economically, culturally, and on the foreign policy front.
The never-Trumpers want to defeat the disrupter Donald Trump because they want to return their positions of power and influence in the Republican establishment.
The truth is, they’re are not terribly conservative, even if they’re quite good at articulating conservative principles.
The beauty of the age of Trump is that he has exposed the fakes and grifters in the conservative movement and kicked them to the curb where they belong.