In an abrupt and unexpected maneuver, Sen. Rand Paul no-showed at the 2017 International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) in Washington D.C. tonight. The reason given by event organizers was that he was busy with an important Senate vote, but records suggest that no such vote was taking place.
Wolf von Laer, President of Students for Liberty, claimed that Sen. Rand Paul couldn’t make the conference due to pressing Senate business. However, the United States Senate Floor’s Twitter account reported that the body had adjourned at 1:54 pm in the afternoon, leaving attendees to speculate about the real reason why Rand didn’t show up.
Recent controversial decisions from Senator Paul to support border enforcement measures and confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions for Attorney General had spurred ire from left-libertarians. It was heavily rumored that a large walk-out of attendees would have happened when Rand went on stage to protest these actions.
Pro-Islam activist Jeremy McLellan slammed Rand Paul after a taped message was displayed, claiming that Rand was “phoning it in” for the libertarian cause. McLellan, a purported comedian, didn’t prepare much material, but rushed headlong into a diatribe of scripted insults toward Rand Paul. Afterwards, he went on his social media to boast about what he had done.
McLellan’s words were well-received by the left-libertarian dominated audience, who gave him repeated ovations. Meanwhile, Sen. Paul was treated like a reviled pariah, rather than a champion of liberty, by those in attendance. In fact, the lead singer of Trotskyist group Pussy Riot was much better received than Rand at last year’s ISFLC conference, even as she wore a pro-Bernie Sanders t-shirt. McLellan’s slurs against Rand were captured in their entirety:
The rest of the program consisted of a Muslim refugee activist appearing remotely to complain about Trump’s temporary travel ban. The night concluded with a panel featuring Grover Norquist and Steve Forbes as well as a performance from the anarcho-capitalist rap group BackWordz. Many attendees were not pleased with how the situation regarding Rand unfolded.
“The only reason I came to this event was to see Rand,” Macomb Community College Young Americans for Liberty chapter lead Carlo Malaie said. “I would have went to CPAC otherwise. It was incredibly disappointing that we were led on by the event organizers.”
Even SFL members were disappointed in what took place.
“I campaigned extensively for Rand,” SFL campus coordinator TJ Roberts said. “Most of the people I recruited for this conference attended because Sen. Paul was attending. Because of what happened, I feel like I was cheated and those people were completely mislead.”
It remains to be seen whether SFL will provide the real reasons why Sen. Rand Paul didn’t appear at the event. The Liberty Conservative will continue our coverage of the ISFLC 2017 as the event continues throughout the weekend.