American Conservative Union communications director Ian Walters, ACU chairman Matt Schlapp, and the ACU-sponsored Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) are being accused of racism due to Walters’ comments at last Friday’s Ronald Reagan dinner. These phony charges deserve rejection and scorn.
I attended that banquet and watched Schlapp invite Walters to the stage for an unexpected honor — a sort of lifetime-achievement award that startled Walters and surprised the crowd. Visibly stunned, Walters observed that conservatives struggled to respond to Obama’s election in 2008.
“That was a hill we got over,” Walters ad-libbed, “and it was something we were all proud of. And we weren’t sure what to do. And in a little bit of cynicism, what did we do? This is a terrible thing: We elected Michael Steele to be the RNC chair because he’s a black guy, and that was the wrong thing to do.”
Walters surely would have made his point more eloquently had he prepared his remarks. That said, Walters expressed the common concern that the Republican National Committee chose Steele as chairman, at least partially, due to identity politics: If a black man led the Democrats, a black man should head the Republicans.
Steele’s tenure, marked by inappropriate-expense controversies and other distractions, reinforced the notion that the RNC might have been better served by a stronger manager.
Could Walters have spoken more carefully? Yes. Were his words a white-nationalist battle cry? No. Are CPAC’s enemies using this episode to hammer conservatives without facts? What else is new?
The Root’s Michael Harriott wrote last Saturday, “CPAC is the country’s biggest and most influential national Klan conservative political convention, uniting disparate entities like white people, Caucasian people, more white people, and Ben Carson.”
This slurfest reflects Harriott’s disdain for the Right. What it does not reflect is reality.
So, is Walters Finnish? Norwegian? Icelandic? It’s hard to tell, because his sapphire eyes and tablecloth-white skin are so blinding.
Actually, Walters’ brown flesh gives proof of his Philippine ancestry. If Schlapp intended to showcase an honoree who embodies white supremacy, he should visit an ophthalmologist — at once.
Furthermore, if CPAC=KKK, why did it not only allow me, a black American, into the Potomac Ballroom on Friday afternoon but, believe it or not, ask me to moderate a panel of experts on the Trump/GOP tax cuts, in full view of conferees and C-SPAN’s national TV audience?
Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) spokesman Niger Innis and my fellow Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli hosted back-to-back, black-to-black panels. Innis’ defended the Second Amendment. Borelli, in no small task, interviewed White House Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, one of President Donald J. Trump’s most influential advisors.
Heritage Foundation president Kay Cole James, Campus Reform editor Lawrence Jones, Turning Point USA’s Candace Owens, and Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke were among the prominent black conservatives who presented their ideas from CPAC’s dais.
As for those witnessing all of this, atop the black activists and political candidates on the Right, some 100 black Republican Millennials experienced CPAC, thanks to CORE, the Black Conservative Federation, and registration discounts, courtesy of ACU. A black man named Diante Johnson, 21, led this youth delegation, guaranteeing a glistening future for black conservatism.
“We never counted how many people of color actually were onstage,” ACU executive director Dan Schneider told me. “But everyone you listed did a fantastic job discussing national security, budget/tax, immigration, Constitutional rights, fake news, labor policy, education policy, etc.” Schneider added: “I hope CPAC’s attendees observed this essential truth: People (regardless of race, sex, orientation, etc.) deserve equal respect and equal protection under the law. America cannot sustain itself otherwise.”
Despite the Left’s paranoid fantasies, CPAC once again welcomed Americans of multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds to celebrate the benefits of individual liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, free enterprise, and peace through strength. The only bigotry involved the hideous hallucinations of CPAC’s critics.