Asheville – Two thousand delegates came from every county in North Carolina to conduct the business of the Republican party, but for many, the highlights of the convention were The Old North State Dinner featuring Governor Ron DeSantis, the First in Freedom Luncheon featuring the 48th Vice President, Mike Pence, and the Grand Old Party Dinner featuring 45th President Donald J. Trump.
North Carolina as a Battleground State
The caliber of the speakers attests to the importance of North Carolina in presidential elections. As a battleground state, how the people vote can affect an election, whether it is a presidential election year or a midterm year.
An Eclectic Group of Conservatives in the Vendor Area
There is a strong field of Republicans running for Governor this year as Roy Cooper steps down. Attendees had the opportunity to meet three of the candidates in the vendor area: Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, NC State Treasurer Dale Falwell, and former NC Rep Mark Walker.
In addition to the booths for Robinson, Falwell, and Walker, there were also booths for those running for office within the NC GOP; for the FairTax, which will be presented in Congress this year for the first time; for the Frederick Douglass Foundation of North Carolina, manned by Clarence Henderson, who was one of the four young black men who sat at the Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina during the civil rights movement; The Republican Nat’l Hispanic Assembly NC – RNHA NC with guest speaker Mayra Flores; and the NC Asian American Coalition.
Governor Ron DeSantis’s Speech
Governor Ron DeSantis was the guest speaker on Friday night. DeSantis, a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, later served as legal advisor to SEAL Team One in Iraq as a JAG lawyer. He opened his speech with this comment, “We all know this country is going in the wrong direction. We see it every day, we can feel it. We see the open border, we see the inflation, we see cities hollowed out with violent crime, we see an administration trying to cap our own domestic energy production, we see the weaponization of federal agencies, we see global ideology run amok across all these institutions. We’ve seen the federal government attempt to impose biomedical security restrictions in the name of COVID mitigation, and of course, tragically, we saw the loss of 13 American service members in Afghanistan due to Joe Biden’s corrupt dereliction of duty…but here’s the deal, American decline is not inevitable, it is a choice. It’s a choice we will make as Americans over the next 18 months.”
DeSantis then went on to correlate what he considers “wins” in Florida with what he would do to bring America back. Some of those wins DeSantis listed were how the people of Lee County Florida were specifically helped after the devastation of Hurricane Ian; a record amount of tax relief, including no sales tax on baby items; universal school choice; parental rights; the Heartbeat bill; defending Second Amendment rights by implementing constitutional carry legislation; removing judges who refuse to uphold the law; a strong stance against illegal immigration; codifying the strongest protections for medical freedom in America; and offering strong support to law enforcement.
Vice President Pence’s Commentary
Vice President Pence, who previously served as the 50th governor of Indiana and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, brings an evangelical air to his campaign. He commented on the recent indictment of former President Trump, saying he had hoped the DOJ would not issue the indictment, “I am deeply troubled for the indictment to move forward,” he said. “It has the capacity to divide our country…The first principle in America is ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ The former president is entitled to the presumption of innocence.” Pence does, however, disagreed with Trump about January 6th.
Pence is pro-life, believes in fiscal responsibility, and unlike the other two candidates, he believes in helping Ukraine fight for freedom, continuing the war.
President Donald J. Trump’s Speech
Although the other candidates were well received, it was obvious that Trump was the favorite of most attendees. This speech was not like his rallies, which are meant to excite. This talk was more like a fireside chat. He spoke of the most recent indictment, hoping it will be over quickly, and about the fact that with everything he has been accused of, nothing ever stuck because he was innocent.
Trump boldly stated that he would end the Russian/Ukraine war in 24 hours. He stated that he would end World War III, immediately cancel every open borders policy of the Biden administration, saying, “Last week we had people coming from 129 countries, pouring into our country.” Trump also stated that he would always protect Medicare and Social Security, support parents’ rights, support women’s sports, stand up to big Pharma, establish a presidential commission to investigate the decades-long increase in childhood diseases, autoimmune disorders, autism, obesity, infertility, and other chronic health problems. He supports the 2nd amendment. One of Trump’s biggest concerns is that we need to have the currency of record. Losing that would, in his words, be “A tremendous failure that would lead to problems the likes of which you would never even be able to think of.”