Donald Trump Jr took to the University of California in Los Angeles with hopes that he might win over the crowd and peddle his wares. Things didn’t exactly go as planned. At the Turning Point USA sponsored event, Trump attempted to make the case for his debut book, Triggered. But if the crowd was left uninterested in such a stale title, a bygone (the internet moves on quickly these days) way to “own the libs,” they found their own ways to keep themselves entertained.
That’s largely thanks to the company Trump Jr. chooses to keep these days.
Sitting alongside the president’s son was the son’s attention-seeking girlfriend (and ex-wife of Gavin Newsom), Kimberly Guilfoyle.
Sandwiched between the often-quarreling lovers (Jr.’s implication, not ours), was none other than Charlie Kirk. Donald Trump Jr. could have easily avoided the entire situation that developed yesterday just by attending the talk alone—both Kirk and Guilfoyle do little more than saddle him with unnecessary baggage.
If you’re already familiar with the dispute between the populist-nationalist right and TPUSA, please skip ahead to the big letter “A” further down the page. If you’re over the age of 30, please keep reading regardless, we wrote this next section with you in mind and someone has to read it.
Kirk has developed a sort of chameleon knack for blending in with the many voices that legitimately supported the president throughout his primary campaign. “Legitimately” being the operative word in that preceding sentence because it is a descriptor that Kirk is wholly unfit to wear.
Despite being somewhat of a boomer whisperer, tweeting out long lists of talking points that must resonate at some frequency only they can find appealing, Kirk is anything but Trump’s man. He wasn’t his man in 2016 and he’s not his man now either.
During the primary cycle, he was the epitome of an anti-Trumper and sought out every means available to prevent Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination. With a real ‘do or die’ mentality, he even went so far as to suggest that the conservative people’s choice for nominee should face a hostile takeover on the convention floor. But people can change right?
Well, when that fell through, he went into damage control. By that do we mean to say he fell in line and started supporting the presumptive nominee? Good heavens, no. He spent his time at the Republican convention talking to journalists to dissuade them from labeling Turning Point USA as a pro-Trump organization. He seemed to have had little confidence in things working out too well at the ballot box. But people can change, can’t they?
Kirk eventually realized his error in judgement—sure, he was last inside the proverbial tent when the flaps closed, but whatever. But he didn’t stop to think, “maybe I should keep quiet for a bit and learn from the people that saw what I didn’t.” And therein lies the great problem: when he got in line behind President Trump, he got directly behind him. This kid started gobbling up leadership roles like he was the president spotting a McDonald’s quarter-pounder. He had just spent months and months on end counter-signaling the President and denigrating his supporters but somehow today he claims chairmanship of Student for Trump. But his opinions changed, right?
Wrong! Here are the things he’s on record saying since Trump took command of the Oval Office. He’s for unlimited legal immigration (so long as they can fulfill an EB-5 visa’s requirements) and sees no issue with our current levels of legal immigration (More than one in eight residents are foreign born? Nah, not a problem says Kirk!). He wants each of our one million foreign student enrolled in American universities to receive permanent residency (“socialism sucks” but 330,000 Chinese communists are natural conservatives), and believes America isn’t all that important as a nation—it’s just a “placeholder for ideas.”
It became such a clown show that commentators like Michelle Malkin were attempting to stage an intervention:
Cringe. @charliekirk11 triples down on stapling green cards to F-1 diplomas, falsely claims green cards only provide “temporary” residency and no path to citizenship, and falsely claims F-1/OPT workers pay taxes. Stabbing US grads in the back is not America First. #openbordersinc https://t.co/QRtMFEufUI— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 30, 2019
If that wasn’t enough, he lied (twice) about his West Point rejection notice. But we’re getting spread a little thin here. Still with us? Good.
Last night, @charliekirk11 lied when a student pressed him about that time he complained about being reject from West Point.— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) October 25, 2019
Kirk claimed it never happened. Here’s the tape of the events spliced together. pic.twitter.com/eaSGzq21GQ
Anyways, a bunch of inquisitive and concerned college students started to question Kirk (and others) about some of these minor details. Some were strictly there to troll, sure. But most were genuinely worried that some of these pro-Trump role models they had put their faith in weren’t really all too faithful to the movement themselves. As it just so happens, asking questions about immigration really infuriates these folks.
So after weeks of TPUSA, YAF, and NRI events being bombarded with difficult and uncomfortable questions (at one point prompting a certain sitting “conservative” congressman to implicitly threaten some students at ASU), we arrived at yesterday’s event.
All of this is to set the backdrop so that you might start to understand why the hell a bunch of Trump donors in MAGA hats were so irked that they started booing at a stage the president’s son was sitting on. Were they disappointed in Don Jr.? You bet. But really they were (justifiably) pissed at Charlie Kirk and that’s what this is really all about.
Or, really, that’s what this should be all about but if you’ve let your eyes drift up to our title, we assume you’re expecting us to make our case for that. And for better or worse, Kim just had to go and steal some of the day’s thunder.
When the show was just about to begin, some poor TPUSA member was trotted out to the stage to announce that the now-infamous Q&A portion of the event would not take place. The crowd offered her the warmest reception they could muster:
No one:— Mega SoCal Val (@BetrayedVal) November 10, 2019
TPUSA: we cancelled the q and a sorry!
They were livid. And who can blame them? As soon as the trio walked out on stage, the renewed demands for a Q&A began:
Missed this earlier, a clip from the beginning where a hot mic catches @DonaldJTrumpJr whispering to Kirk about the demands for a Q&A (chants began immediately as the trio took the stage).— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) November 11, 2019
“Just tell them we can’t do it because too many people are using it to disrupt.” pic.twitter.com/bO5vy01pv9
To make matters worse Don Jr., apparently incapable of reading the room, made repeated references to how conservatives were always ready and willing to listen to debate. The irony was entirely lost on him. It wasn’t lost on the spectators:
Not sure why you’d hold an event where a speaker goes on and on about society not letting you ask questions and then turn around and not allow questions, call them virgins, and end early. https://t.co/RLRLmYvzV3— Mister AntiBully (@MisterAntiBully) November 10, 2019
Call them “virgins?” Well, this as good a time as any to bring up Kimberly Guilfoyle again. Now keep in mind that this is to a crowd of Trump supporters and donors.
Audience: We want to ask questions— Mister AntiBully (@MisterAntiBully) November 10, 2019
TPUSA: Have sex incel
This will end well. pic.twitter.com/DrXlVyjIsk
And Trump just couldn’t stop himself from making the most easily avoided unforced error by reminding the audience, who were forbidden to ask questions, that he was “willing to listen.”
Donald Trump Jr. says “we’re willing to listen”— Brett MacDonald (@TweetBrettMac) November 10, 2019
Crowd chants: “Q&A! Q&A!” pic.twitter.com/6CsfC5tfej
After one particularly energetic outburst from the crowd, a helpless Don Jr. turned to Kirk and asked “what’s next?” Kirk told him to just keep going and that they’d wrap things up soon.
So in some sense, the younger Trump was totally blindsided by this turn of events, but what’s shameful is that he let his rebound girlfriend denigrate the most loyal supporters his father has and was too foolish to consider the optics of selling a book subtitled the left “Wants to Silence Us” at an event where he silenced the people responsible for putting his father in office.
It would be really great if the people within the Trump Administration, all well-meaning and good (I hope!), could stop hiring Never Trumpers, who are worse than the Do Nothing Democrats. Nothing good will ever come from them!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
Much to the chagrin of his most loyal supporters, the president isn’t so great at choosing his friends either, but at least he has been open about this weakness. It looks like Donald Trump Jr. has inherited that much from his old man.
If the junior Trump wanted to hold a book talk unencumbered by such a display, the solution was simple and within arms reach: ditch Kirk and Kim. If Kim just remained behind the scenes that would have been enough. But for a woman who was forced out of Fox News under suspicions of sexual misconduct and harassment, she hasn’t let go of her taste for the limelight. Each time she opened her mouth—often while cutting her boyfriend off in the process— some bizarre political stump speech fell out of it as if she has future plans to run for office. Why was she even on stage? Did she ghostwrite his book?
Donald Trump Jr. needs to take a hard look at the people he lets into his life. This isn’t just about the Trump family or the movement that the president started—this is about the future of it as well. Donald Trump will not be president forever, and unless Don Jr. wants to see his father’s legacy become just another flash in the pan, with neoconservative politics taking root once more in his absence, then he needs to start thinking seriously about the ramifications of his inner circle.
The 2020 election is the next battle, but winning the war requires the having the opposite of Charlie Kirk in the foxhole beside us, one would hope Trump Jr. at least realized this as he was heckled and booed without any support from the interloping TPUSA stooge sitting beside him. If Kirk and his ilk are seen as leaders in 2024, if they’re acknowledged as the inheritors of what was started without them, we all lose.