TPUSA Action/Conference – A Personal Perspective

Written by Nancy Hayes

About 3 weeks ago, Turning Point USA and Turning Point Action sponsored a Conference for the conservative grassroots at the Palm Beach Convention Center in Palm Beach, Florida. Attendance was estimated at over 6,000, with close to half of those being young, conservative college students.

As you may or may not know, Turning Point was initially founded locally in 2012 in Lemont, Illinois. Charlie Kirk is originally from the Arlington Heights/Prospect Heights area. He happened to be speaking at Illinois Benedictine’s “Youth Empowerment Day” when he met Bill Montgomery, a Tea-Party-backed legislative candidate. Montgomery was so impressed upon hearing and meeting Kirk, he encouraged him to get more engaged in political activism.

Shortly thereafter, Bill Montgomery and Charlie Kirk co-founded Turning Point USA, where Montgomery would become Kirk’s strong mentor. The small, gray, one-story building that was once Turning Point’s office still stands on Illinois Street in Lemont, Illinois.

As stated on their website, Turning Point’s main mission is “to identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”

Certainly, the TPUSA Conference served exactly that mission!

TPUSA’s Conference speakers  from several presidential candidates – including Benny Johnson, Ryan Binkley, Asa Hutchinson, Francis Suarez, Vivek Ramaswamy, and the ever popular, former President Donald J. Trump. Just for the record, several other presidential candidates including former Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC), and Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) were all invited as well, but declined to attend.

If one were to rank the crowd’s thunderous and enthusiastic response to presidential hopefuls, President Donald J. Trump would come in first, followed by newcomer and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. This ranking was supported by TPUSA’s straw poll voting as well.

Kirk stated, “The straw poll demonstrates President Trump remains the single most dominant force among the conservative grassroots. All the attacks against him have seemingly made him ever stronger and more popular among the conservative faithful.”

Former President Trump took an overwhelming 85.7 percent of the straw poll’s vote for first choice for the presidential nomination, with Ramaswamy taking second place.

Next to President Trump and Ramaswamy, U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson drew the strongest ovations and loudest applause from the huge crowd.

Representative Gaetz’s speech was keenly focused on “America First” and the “battle for America.” He referenced the DC swamp and brought the house down with energy for the Pro-Trump conservatives in attendance. He proudly stated to the conservative crowd, “America First, Always and Forever!”

Gaetz exclaimed, “We ride or die with President Donald J. Trump. Are you ready for what comes next?”

He went on to say, “This is a fight to save the greatest country that has ever existed. Join the ranks of the firebrands or get out of our way!”

The conservative crowd enthusiastically showed their strong support for Representative Gaetz with thunderous applause.

Next to former President Trump, former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson probably received the longest and loudest ovation and applause.

Carlson joked, “I don’t think most unemployed people get a reception like that!” He then scanned the audience and announced, “Roger Stone, ladies and gentlemen! All the cool people are here! It’s unbelievable!”

It was pretty unbelievable and the crowd loved Carlson to say the least!

He went on to discuss such topics as debating liberals, vaccines, and Russia propaganda, along with the January 6th event.

Regarding the vaccine, Carlson stated, “The majority of Americans are sheep…who do whatever they’re told to do…You’ll mask. You’ll separate. You’ll stay home. You’ll take our shot. Even though we have no idea what’s in it.”

Carlson added, “We don’t know its long-term effects, but ‘shut up.’ This is a moral test.”

He went on to say, “Nobody pushed back on the fundamental terms.” Of course not. Did we ask if there was evidence for this? Did we ask if this was true?

Adding, “If the answer is ‘Shut up,’ or if the answer is to accuse you, an American citizen who loves his country, of disloyalty to your country, by the people who don’t care at all about the United States? It’s too much!”

Amen to that!

The TPUSA Conference was not only about candidates and speeches, but it was also about energizing the base, especially for Donald Trump.

In addition, those in attendance were educated on topics like human trafficking. Some attended a viewing of “The Sound of Freedom” and afterward listened to producer Eduardo Verastegui and others involved in the production of this movie, which has now grossed over $150 million.

Additionally, attendees could participate in several breakout sessions, including offerings on election integrity and strategies for 2024.

Of course, the highlight of the 2-day event was not seeing Roger Stone, Frank Pavone, or even Mike Lindell, or even hearing the beloved patriot, Florida U.S. Representative Byron Donalds (R-FL). It was seeing and listening to former President, Donald J. Trump.

The enthusiastic crowd waited patiently for over 90 minutes for President Trump to make his presence known on center stage of the TPUSA’s Conference at the Palm Beach Convention Center. And no, Trump did not disappoint.

As Charlie Kirk, President of Turning Point USA, introduced the 45th President of the United States, the energetic MAGA crowd responded with enthusiasm for their former leader. As Lee Greenwood’s song “Proud to Be an American” played loudly to the cheers of the crowd, fireworks showered the stage. Cheers and screams continued as chants of, “USA! USA! USA!” filled the room.

Trump thanked and recognized many in the audience, including those representing Florida – Matt Gaetz, Anna Paulina Luna, and Byron Donalds. He went on to recognize other notable speakers, including Mike Lindell and Roger Stone.

As he continued in an hour-long speech, the former President talked about the most dishonest president in the history of our country: “Crooked Joe Biden,” the most corrupt and grossly incompetent man who is destroying our country.

Trump emphasized that during the Biden administration, not only has our hope been utterly destroyed, but home ownership is at a 30-year low since he left office. Trump went on to say what was once an energy-independent country was now dependent on Venezuelan oil. Wages collapsed and incomes have been crushed. In other words, our country is in big, big trouble.

Trump drew tremendous support when he said we must all come together as a nation for the United States of America. The crowd roared with chants of, “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

President Trump shared his plan to take back America and make it great again. He also discussed getting rid of the Department of Education and touched on topics like CRT and merit-based education.

Trump emphasized that if we don’t have free elections and strong borders, we don’t have a country.

He discussed the “rigged election,” “stuffed ballots,” and election interference. The interference included indicting people and destroying families. He added, “We are not going to allow them to rig the election in 2024!”

President Trump ended by speaking on the future of elections. For elections to be secure, he said we must return to ONE-day voting, PAPER ballots, and VOTER ID!

2024 is the final battle! He asked for the silent majority to be involved like never before.

With the help of patriots that love our country and vote, we will together help to “Make America Great Again.”

Trump signed off with “God Bless You All!” and “Thank you all!”

This conference was tremendously inspiring!

Nancy Hayes is a Christian wife, mother and educator on election integrity for several  grassroots organizations across Illinois. She is also a Deputy Committeeman at Lemont Township Republican Organization and a Board Member at United Southland Republican Women-Chgo SW Suburbs.