One item on the president’s schedule for this week caught Cockburn’s eye: a planned speech at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit.
Trump’s attendance at the event isn’t particularly surprising: the grassroots Tea Party college organization have stood firmly behind him for the last few years, and Don Jr has been a regular fixture at many of their conferences. He’s speaking at this one too, with his love Kimberly Guilfoyle and other leading lights of the right such as Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Jim Jordan and Dr Sebastian ‘The Dragon of Budapest’ Gorka.
But it does seem worth asking: alongside founding father Charlie Kirk, the campus campaigner who chose not to attend college, who still works for the organization?
Not Candace Owens. The one-time Kanye West acolyte and former face of TPUSA, who Trump congratulated upon her engagement to George Farmer in his CPAC speech, quit as the group’s communications director in May. Owens claimed she wanted to dedicate more time to her PragerU podcast and forthcoming book (be sure to send Cockburn a copy), but the talk at the time was many of the Turning Point membership were displeased with her comments on Hitler and Twitter spat with the grieving relative of a murdered Iowa college student. Despite her departure, Owens will speak at the conference.
We can however assume that Riley Grisar will not be flying in for the summit. He was the chapter president at UNLV who appeared in a video saying ‘white power’ and giving the alt-right-associated ‘OK’ hand gesture as a female friend says the n-word.
Also absent will be Kyle Kashuv. The conservative survivor of the Parkland shooting had served as Turning Point’s high school outreach director, until a classmate surfaced racial slurs he had made in a Google document during a class project. This incident resulted in him losing his place at Harvard University and prompted one of the year’s more absurd free speech debates.
Crystal Clanton probably won’t make the cut. The former national field director once texted a Turning Point colleague: ‘I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all…I hate blacks. Sorry end of story.’
It’s also unclear whether Juan Pablo Andrade will show up. He was a Turning Point policy adviser who got in trouble last year for saying ‘the only thing the Nazis didn’t get right is they didn’t keep fucking going!’ on video.
Turning Point chief creative officer and pipe-smoking plagiarist Benny Johnson will be present, however. The former BuzzFeed and IJR contributor was in the Rose Garden for the feisty social media summit 11 days ago, where Trump and many of his most loyal followers wondered aloud about censorship on Twitter and Facebook. Was it something they said?
Trump is sure to bring down the house no matter who Turns up to the summit. Otherwise what’s the Point?