Here are the Dumbest Moments of Turning Point USA’s Confab in Florida

At the far-right group’s youth conference, Trump and his cronies didn’t hold back.

You mad, bro? Donald Trump Jr. puts up his dukes at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit, Saturday, July 23, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Turning Point USA has emerged as the conservative movement’s MAGA Youth wing—an institution fixated on spreading the right wing gospel among high school and college students, with particular focus on a certain former president/reality TV host. At the group’s annual Student Action Summit in Tampa Bay this weekend, MAGAland’s most prominent pols, PR hacks, and media operatives turned up to fire up an assembly of thousands. It was a bit on the nose when neo-fascists gathered outside the arena, brandishing swastika-emblazoned flags. (Event officials quickly denounced the spectacle as having “nothing to do with TPUSA, our event, or our students.”) Inside, as you might expect of such a confab, things got pretty juvenile. Here are some highlights.

• Eternal 13-year-old Rep. Matt Gaetz (R.Fl.) strutted his misogyny while airing his thoughts on the outrage generated by the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. “Why is it,” he demanded to know, “that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions? Nobody wants to impregnate you if you look like a thumb.”

Gun-mad restaurateur Rep. Lauren Boebert (R.-Colo.) sought to clear up a rumor I had never heard. 

• In perhaps a sly nod to his his own obsequious relationship with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz delivered his pronouns. 

• Professional son Donald Trump, Jr. offered his take on a dire, metastasizing national crisis: his own social-media failures.

• Perhaps energized by the recent primetime hearings exposing his ignominious actions leading up to andon Jan 6, 2020, the Big Guy himself delivered a nearly two-hour harangue playing on familiar themes. Here he marvels at his own Christlike persecution:

Here, he airs his well-worn view on the fake-news media and its cursed awards (“maybe we’ll sue Pulitzer”): 

Here, he airs the fantasy that he actually finished the border wall. 

Perhaps calculating that a youth conference was no place to wonk out, Trump apparently decided not to discuss “Schedule F”—the policy centerpiece of his next presidency, should he retake the Oval Office. Under the plan, recently revealed by Axios’ Jon Swan, Trump would commit a mass purge of the federal bureaucracy, which he’d restock with fresh operatives, much like the youth assembled before him in Tampa Bay. 

However: 

The president did, however, vow to own the libs by running in 2024. “If I stayed home, if I announced that I was not going to run for office, the persecution of Donald Trump would immediately stop,” he declared. “But that’s what they want me to do. And you know what? There’s no chance I do that.”

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate