Roseanne Barr, the QAnon Shaman and a gang of angry white teenagers walk into a bar. This may sound like the start of a horrible joke, but it was also the scene in downtown Phoenix, Arizona as Turning Point USA hosted its annual AmericaFest at a local convention center.
Normal speeches by GOP mainstays such as Senator Ted Cruz were overtaken by some of the shenanigans afterwards — most glaringly headlined by a group of purported white supremacists at a fringe event reportedly shouting “nigger,” “gay sex,” and “faggot” at Rob Smith, who is black, gay and conservative.
In one video, posted by @ValleyZoomerVZ, Smith is asked “how does anal sex help us win the culture war?” among other highly relevant questions. Smith calmly left the premises.
TPUSA denounced the roving abusers, who had planned a separate event to counter AmericaFest. “This is reprehensible behavior and has nothing to do with TPUSA,” its founder, Charlie Kirk, commented on Smith’s post. “Unacceptable.”
Inside the convention, however, the straw poll for Trump’s VP weirdly decided to use Nikki Haley’s full name, Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley, while referring to all other possibilities by solely their first or last names. Prior to the convention, several of TPUSA’s contributors drew ire from conservative pundits for allegedly antisemitic Twitter activity.
Meanwhile, during the convention, Kirk made the case for a smaller tent GOP, laying out a vision for a party free of RINOs — “Republicans in Name Only.” He specifically singled out Donald Trump’s hand-picked candidate to lead the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, as well as Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as candidates for his purge. “Ronna McRomney has to resign as chair of the RNC,” he said — presumably so his stooges (namely Tyler Bowyer, TPUSA’s chief operating officer) can take it over.
While TPUSA styles itself as the Trumpiest of Trump organizations, the man himself wasn’t there — something a Republican strategist noted to Cockburn. “Donald Trump was in Las Vegas and didn’t attend their event in Phoenix. He was in Florida and didn’t attend their event in Palm Beach. Rumor has it he has seen the stories of Charlie and Tyler’s newfound riches and realizes who and what they are.”
The strategist is likely referring to the scandalous reporting in the Associated Press that alleges Kirk has leveraged TPUSA’s mass donor network to become a multimillionaire while failing to score significant political wins. Another operative with ties to Trumpworld said, “At this point, it would probably be less damaging for the movement and more efficient for donors to just wire their money directly to Charlie and Tyler, since that’s where it apparently ends up anyway. Eventually, you have to wonder when donors will wise up and start directing their money towards organizations that are actually focused on defeating Democrats instead of turning red states into blue states like Turning Point did with Arizona.”
Everyone from Riley Gaines to Glenn Beck spoke, but all the media attention was on Roseanne Barr, who warned of a rising caliphate of communists, Nazis and fascists “to replace every Christian democracy on earth.”
Afterwards, Barr wrote that she “accidentally deleted my speech when making my last edit just before walking out.”
Tucker Carlson also made no shortage of news, telling attendees that he would forcefully oppose a potential Trump-Haley ticket, and lambasted Ron DeSantis for supposedly caving to Ken Griffin, the CEO of the multinational hedge fund Citadel’s, position on Ukraine.
Trump’s lawyer, Alina Habba, also took to the stage to brag, in a grammatically incorrect way, that “me and President Trump got sanctioned a million dollars for going against Crooked Hillary.” She is referring to losing a case that was dismissed by the judge as “completely frivolous.” Habba was recently profiled by Barstool Sports for being good-looking.
There was no shortage of action offstage, either. The Right Stuff, a serially delayed conservative dating app allegedly dominated by male users but viewed by some as a way to keep Trump loyalist John McEntee employed, hosted a speed-dating event for those over eighteen. While the now-married Representative Matt Gaetz wasn’t spotted at the speed dating, he did have one superfan he couldn’t shake: the infamous QAnon Shaman, who is now running for Congress as a Libertarian.
Gaetz had no time or patience for the Shaman, who called Gaetz a “coward” for refusing to chat with him. “He can’t talk to me! Won’t even talk to me!” the shaman mourned.
The shaman did have more luck with the seventy-one-year-old Barr, who posted a picture of them with the caption, “new couple alert!!”