After vocal reactions from a wide range of conservatives, CPAC rescinds the invitation.
For background on this matter, see posts from yesterday (here and here).
One wonders what took so long and what tipped the scale toward disinviting Yiannopoulos. Last night at 8:17pm, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp was still defending Milo as a speaker.
Jonah 1st amendment is dead on campus. Conservatives should fight back. As radioactive as milo is he is fighting back. https://t.co/grkdlGNBt3
In 2011, social conservatives — mostly Christian groups — complained about the presence of GOProud, a gay conservative group, at CPAC. Many socially conservative groups pulled out.
Now, CPAC has scheduled Milo Yiannopoulos to speak. Yiannopoulos is a gay self-styled conservative who has spoken favorably of sex between young teens and adults. Thus far, (since Saturday), no major Christian or socially conservative group has come out against the speech, as far as I can determine.
Individual religious and social conservatives have spoken out. Reagan biographer Paul Kengor said the decision was “appalling.” He added, “If this is your idea of the new conservative movement, count me out.”
In my view, the issue isn’t Yiannopoulos’ sexual orientation. I supported GOProud’s involement at CPAC in 2011 and doubted that Ronald Reagan would have opposed it. My issue is Yiannopoulos’ defense of sexual relationships between teens below the age of consent and adults. On that basis, CPAC should immediately rescind the invitation to speak.
If social and religious conservatives don’t come out against the planned speech by Yiannopoulos, then it will be one more sign that their voice has been stifled by support for the Trump/Bannon administration.
The annual conference of the Conservative Political Action Committee is coming up next week. However, controversy has already arrived in the form of Milo Yiannopoulos. His invitation to speak at the conference is not sitting well with critics. The criticism of the invitation became especially hot after two videos surfaced of Yiannopoulos defending young teen-adult sex (as young as 13 as recorded in the interview). I am not going to embed the videos but you can listen for yourself here and here (see also the video embedded at the tweet below and full interview here).
Some have called on other CPAC speakers to boycott the conference.
Perennial CPAC attender, Ronald Reagan biographer and Grove City College colleague Paul Kengor told me the invitation is “appalling. William F. Buckley Jr. is rolling over in his grave.”
Kengor added that the keynote invitation is the “inevitable consequence of the Trump-Bannon attempted takeover of the conservative movement and GOP. Milo is a Bannon-Breitbart creation/superstar. For traditional-values conservatives who boarded the Trump train to defeat Hillary, well, it’s time to pay the piper.”
Kengor has a message for the American Conservative Union:
I beg this question of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp, and its board members who I respect so much: Is Milo even a conservative? I realize it might seem uproariously fun to watch an outrageous, crude, militant homosexual tell leftists to go blank themselves, but is this really the poster-boy you want as the new model for young conservatives? The alt-right loves him. What would Ronald Reagan say about him as the CPAC keynoter? William F. Buckley Jr.? Russell Kirk?
He added, “If this is your idea of the new conservative movement, count me out.”
For his part, Yiannopoulos is claiming he was joking and did not refer to sex with minors. If one listens to the interview posted by the Reagan Battalion, it is hard to square his Facebook post with the interview where he defends young teen-adult sexual relations.
The challenge is always in terms of our participating organizations. Are you willing to be in the sandbox of our principles or not, and if you’re not, your individual members are welcome but not the organization. So we’re going to go through a vetting process. We haven’t decided yet who is going to get invited to the 2012 CPAC or not. We’re going to make sure that organizations that adhere to our beliefs get invited. So that includes GOProud or anybody else so we’re going to go through a vetting process to see what they stand for.
If you are a group, this has got nothing to do with orientation, if you’re a group of straight couples that advocate for gay marriage then that’s not within the scope of what we believe that the three legs of the stool of the movement are. So it’s got nothing to do with the orientation. It has got to do with the principles that you advocate. There are of gays in America that don’t advocate gays in the military issue or gay marriage and so they’ll fit within the tent of what we stand for…so we;ll do our best to be inclusive while at the same time adhering to the principles that Ronald Reagan dreamed about and we’ve been following.