Donald Trump Jr., young conservative activists celebrate tax cuts


Let others call it looting the treasury. Donald Trump Jr. had a very different message about tax cuts to 3,000 cheering young activists from around the nation who gathered at the Palm Beach County Convention Center Tuesday.

“I’m trying to figure out how letting someone keep more of their money is looting,” the president’s son said.

The applause and chants of “USA! USA!” only grew with lines like this: “Big government sucks.”

And: “The wall is going to be built.”

Trump Jr. spoke at an event sponsored by Turning Point USA, a non-profit group founded in 2012 by Illinois native and conservative activist Charlie Kirk. The organization’s mission, according to its website, is to “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”

The celebratory mood contrasted sharply with reviews from Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida. He said the tax plan amounted to $1.5 trillion “borrowed in order to finance a huge tax cut for multinational corporations” with “crumbs for the hard-working middle-class families.”

Kirk said attendees came from all 50 states to disprove the idea “you have to be liberal if you’re in college.”

Attendee Veronica Mounts, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio, said she was “really excited” about what is shaping up to be “an awesome week for conservatives everywhere.”

The deficit was already a problem, figured attendee John Smith III, an economics and finance major at John Carroll University, where Mounts also attends. Big spending problems will have to be addressed whether there is a tax cut or not, he said.

Meanwhile, the prospective tax relief will “boost jobs and the economy,” he said.

Donald Trump Jr. made brief references to his testimony before Congress about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, noting “riveting” media coverage of his bathroom breaks.

But with the stock market routinely hitting new highs and 1.5 million new jobs added in the new administration, he said his father only lied to him about one thing: “We’d be sick of winning.”

Trump Jr. said, “I don’t think we’ll be sick of it.”

The messages found a receptive audience with Turning Point attendees. Among the group’s initiatives is “innovative grass-roots messaging.” Examples of such messaging on the website: “Commies Aren’t Cool,” “Socialism: Ideas So Good They Have To Be Mandatory” and “Fossil Fuels Save Lives.”

Organizers said close to 3,000 attendees between the ages of 15 and 25 were expected over four days. More than a dozen listed sponsors include The Heritage Foundation, the American Conservative Coalition and Job Creators Network.

Some attendees paid a small registration fee along with their own transportation costs while their accommodations were covered by scholarships, organizers said.

“Students who attend this retreat will hear from guest speakers, receive first-class activism and leadership training, and participate in a series of networking events with political leaders and top-tier activist organizations,” the website said. “Be part of the largest gathering of young, conservative students!”

Other speakers scheduled to appear during the week include Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, author and speaker Dinesh D’Souza and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who served a colorful if brief stint in that role.

With up to 1,200 room-nights, “certainly there will be a great economic impact,” said Glenn Jergensen, executive director of the Palm Beach County Tourist Development Council.

Throw in other bookings like motivational speaker Tony Robbins and players and fans attending college football’s Boca Raton Bowl, and the month is shaping up to be “probably one of the best Decembers we’ve ever had,” Jergensen said.

Convention business around the holidays sometimes can taper off, but not this year, officials said.

Then again, the event is right around the corner from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, where president Donald Trump is due to arrive soon for a year-end stay.

“I’m sure a number of attendees know the southern White House is nearby,” said Dave Anderson, regional vice president for Spectra Venue Management & Hospitality, which manages the convention center. “It’s part of the effect of having all this in the area.”

Attendee Ryan Quattromani, 22, of Rhode Island said he came down mostly because of what is happening in the political moment and the list of speakers. Since he was already near Mar-a-Lago, though, he figured why not take a look.

“I did drive by the compound and it was cool to see it,” he said.



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