Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit kicked off its second day Tuesday with remarks from seven Washington officials, beginning with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Senator David Perdue.
Sessions commended the students for being politically aware at such a young age. While most students are focused on “pop culture or the latest fad,” these students were focused on the well-being of their country, he said at George Washington University on Tuesday.
A lack of conservative viewpoints in life drew students to the conference, some of them said.
“I just like to be balanced and hear both sides. I hear a lot of the liberal side,” said Maria, 15, of Miami.
“I hardly get to hear the conservative viewpoint from anyone except my family,” said Matt, 16, of Boston.
Sessions also focused on what he deemed hostile atmospheres for conservatives on today’s college campuses.
Universities were more welcoming when he was in school, Sessions said. Even though from the 1870s to the 1980s, almost all of his home state politicians were Democratic, they were tolerant of Republicans in Alabama, he said.
“The college campus is where debate and discussion should be appreciated, honored. Nowhere have there been more arbitrary and capricious restrictions on free speech than in the institution,” Sessions said.
He cited examples of political activists pressuring schools to cancel appearances from those with opposing viewpoints:
In October, a Black Lives Matter Group at William and Mary shut down an ACLU event on the First Amendment chanting “Liberalism is white supremacy.” Student protesters also showed up to a debate at Middlebury College in masks pulling fire alarms, surrounding and assaulting the speaker. And Brown University canceled a speech to promote transgender rights after students protested because a Jewish group sponsored the talk, said Sessions.
“Too many schools are coddling our young people and actively preventing them from scrutinizing the validity of their beliefs. That is the exact opposite of what they are supposed to do,” said Sessions, citing trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions, cry closets, optional exams, therapy goats, and grade inflation.
Senator David Perdue focused on ending big government programs.
“We’ve had a 100-year slide toward socialism. I’ve seen it happen, I’ve been an outsider to Washington for a few decades, I’ve been in business and I’ve seen it happen,” said Perdue, a former CEO of Reebok and Dollar General.
Three Democratic supermajorities were responsible for America’s financial catastrophe, Perdue said, the Great Society, the New Deal, and Dodd Frank and Obamacare.
“The irony of all that is that they fail all the people they claim to champion — the working poor,” he said.
The poverty rate today is the same as it was in 1964 when President Johnson signed the Great Society, according to Perdue. The poverty rate in 1964 was 19% and today it stands at 12.7%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Other efforts where big government has failed include the Department of Education, according to Perdue. When Carter created the Department of Education, America’s 14-year-olds were number one in Math and Science, but today they are 25th and 26th respectively, claimed Perdue.
“It just shows you that big government programs that start and end in Washington do not solve the problem back home,” said Perdue.
In it’s latest study the Programme for International Student Assessment ranked the U.S. below average for math and just above for science compared to 15-year-olds around the world.
Perdue also praised President Trump in his efforts to grow the economy, strengthen border security, and expand military funding.