A Random List of Terrible Things We Saw and Heard at CPAC

A Random List of Terrible Things We Saw and Heard at CPAC

Illustration: Elena Scotti (Photos: Stassa Edwards, Esther Wang, Getty Images)

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD—At this year’s CPAC, the message was clear: socialism is bad and all Democrats are socialists, but especially Bernie Sanders. Sanders isn’t just a socialist, according to one panel host, he’s a socialist/communist. More worrisome than Sanders, however, are the kids who have been lured by socialism which, according to many of CPAC’s speakers, is incredibly cool. Turning Points founder Charlie Kirk told the crowd that if you wear a Sanders shirt on any college campus, you’ll get invited to all of the cool parties.

But if seizing the means of production was what all the cool kids are doing, everyone who was not an enlightened youth was at CPAC to warn about socialism’s dangers and advocate instead for capitalism (not cool) and four more years of Donald Trump. While we missed seeing Trump do his best to make love to the American flag, there was plenty more we did see, which can never, having been seen, be unseen. Here’s an incomplete list of memorable CPAC moments that we’ll unfortunately never forget.


  • A sculpture of Donald Trump made out of 400 pounds of nails with the phrase “TOUGH AS NAILS” on the base.
  • Exactly 27 seconds of a video titled “The Capitalism vs. Socialism RAP BATTLE.”
  • Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley descending down an escalator where she was eagerly greeted by a group of young men from her state. “You left the craziness of the Democratic primary to come here!” she told them, before posing for a photo.
  • A hammock for sale with the phrase “FAKE NEWS” stitched into the top.
  • Another hammock for sale, in which rested a bear that had Donald Trump’s signature hair.
  • A woman waving a MAGA hat with an orange toupee stitch on top.
  • Students for the NRA posing with cutouts of Joe Biden leaning over for a kiss.
  • Lady MAGA, a drag queen and gay man named Ryan who told me that the LGBT movement is “dangerously pushing transgenderism on children,” adding, “I feel that the T has taken over the entire movement.”
  • Mike Lindell, the founder of MyPillow, being interviewed by the One America News Network.
  • Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker shaking hands with Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recording an interview on Todd Starnes’s podcast. As you may recall, Starnes, a former Fox News blowhard and the author of a book called Culture Jihad, once called taking down Confederate monuments as “cultural cleansing” akin to the work of ISIS and more recently described the women protesting the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as “screaming animals” who “should be tasered, handcuffed and dragged out of the building.”
  • Several Barbie dolls wearing “Keep America Great” dresses designed by Andre Soriano, the “creator of the MAGA gown.”
  • Dr. David Schneider, during a panel on the “ills of socialized medicine,” claiming that “socialized medicine killed Princess Diana.” Schneider added, “Princess Diana would have lived had that accident happened in America.”
  • Miklos Szantho, a rightwing Hungarian ally of Viktor Orban, speaking glowingly of how the country has solved its “demographic problem” during a panel titled “The Future of the Family.”
  • Rick Harrison of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars, warning darkly from the CPAC main stage that “Bernie Sanders wants to crush everything we have.”
  • Iowa Senator Joni Ernst blaming Democrats for female genital mutilation.
  • Ernst calling Joe Biden a socialist.
  • A crowd of people gathered around Alex Jones.
  • Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn warning the crowd about the “elite” with “all the power and the money.” She did this shortly after she compared the American left to Saddam Hussein.
  • Members of the press running as fast as they could to the gates surrounding the media pen to take a picture of the protestor that interrupted Mike Pence’s speech. The protestor was dressed as Donald Trump.
  • A senior policy analyst for Independent Women’s Forum telling a group of conservative women that “conservative women are denigrated and belittled.” She added that the media does this because of something called “progressive privilege.”
  • A line of people who were very eager to take a selfie with Doug Collins.
  • The president of the Heritage Foundation calling Harriet Tubman “one sassy woman.”
  • Mike Pompeo getting a standing ovation when he said, “Abortion isn’t a human right, it takes a human life.”
  • A group of College Republicans who were trying to get Mitt Romney thrown out of the party.
  • A van driving around declaring Jeffery Epstein’s death a conspiracy and a lot of swag for sale that echoed that sentiment.

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Bashington

Lady MAGA, a drag queen and gay man named Ryan who told me that the LGBT movement is “dangerously pushing transgenderism on children.” adding, “I feel that the T has taken over the entire movement.”

Gurl.