An annual summit of conservative activists and movement leaders faced an extraordinary bit of dissent on Saturday from a columnist who torched “hypocrites” within the Republican Party for overlooking President Donald Trump’s alleged sexual misdeeds.
Mona Charen’s comments came moments before an annual “straw poll” of attendees showed a 93 percent approval rating of the president, a result quickly highlighted by Trump on Twitter.
“I’m disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women, and because he happens to have an ‘R’ by his name, we look the other way, we don’t complain,” said Charen, a senior fellow for the Ethics & Public Policy Center.
Charen participated in a panel called “#UsToo: Left out by the Left.” Her conservative organization bills itself as Washington’s “premier institute applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to issues of public policy.”
“The Republican Party endorsed Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama, even though he was a credibly accused child molester,” she said. “You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that.”
At that point, boos erupted from the crowd. “Not true! Not true! Not true!” one person yelled. “Prove it!” shouted another person in the crowd.
But Charen wasn’t done. She took aim at CPAC for inviting Marion Marechal-Le Pen, a French politician and the latest member of a far-right French political dynasty to come to prominence. Le Pen was well-received in her speech on Thursday praising Trump’s “ America First” agenda.
“The only reason she was here is she’s named Le Pen, and the Le Pen name is a disgrace. Her grandfather is a racist and Nazi. She claims she stands for him,” Charen said.
The crowd then broke out into loud boos, but Charen wasn’t fazed. “The fact that CPAC invited her is a disgrace,” she said.
An email seeking comment from the press office of the American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, wasn’t immediately returned on Saturday.
Shortly after Charen’s appearance, CPAC announced that its annual straw poll found a 93 percent approval rating for Trump, which it said was among the highest seen since the days of Ronald Reagan.
“The conservative movement has found a new leader,” said the announcer.
Earlier at the three-day CPAC meeting, some members of the audience booed a speaker presenting data on the benefits of immigration. The crowd also booed a panelist’s argument that Mexican immigrants have a lot in common with conservatives.