Jenny Beth Martin

CPAC - March 4, 2016

Jenny Beth Martin
March 04, 2016— National Harbor, Maryland
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MARTIN: Good afternoon CPAC. You know, the President of the United States’ last address is gathering eight years ago. Do the math, it was a different president then. As he sat in the Oval Office preparing for that speech, he came across a phrase that confused him. So he asked, “what is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?” The speech writer, stunned responded, “well the conservative movement. You know the one started back in the 60s when this conservative groups first took root?” That apparently didn't sit well with the president. “Let me tell you something,” he said, “I whooped Garry Bowers ass in 2000 so take a look at movement stuff out of there. There is no movement.”

I wish I'd known that story eight years before his presidency, rather than eight years after his presidency. Is it any wonder that a lot of us began to doubt the Republican Party during that presidency? A man who ran for office claiming to be a conservative. He didn't govern as a conservative. He oversaw the largest spending increase since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, and when big banks got in trouble, his solution was to force Congress to the hand over 700 billion taxpayer dollars that we didn't have, and worse he laid the groundwork for Barack Obama, who within one month of taking office, called President Bush's 700 billion dollar bailout and raised it by 87 billion dollars. Again, we borrowed money.

It was seven years ago last week in response to that 787 billion dollars so-called stimulus package that have worked its way through Congress that the modern Tea Party movement was born. Now we're just regular people, nothing special, but we do share something in common. We love our country, and we love what makes our country special, the Constitution and the rights it protects. The rights that come from our Creator and not from government. Our freedom, we're fighting to defend it against the liberals who want to fundamentally transform it, and many of us are angry and upset at our government because we see Washington insiders making deals that grow in the government and increase the national debt and they have no regard for the impact their deals have on our lives. We want to make a difference. I'll bet that motivates a lot of you too, and when Rick Santelli ranted against the stimulus bill on the floor the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, we were ready. The day after that rant, two dozen strangers got on a conference call to talk about what we can do to take up action based on Rick Santelli’s call to have a tea party like our founding fathers. Within a week, we’d held protests in cities all across this country and by April 15th, we'd organized more than 850 of them, engaging Americans who were fed up with our government and we haven't looked back since.

Let me ask you a question, how many of you here today are angry and upset with the federal government? I’m upset. I’m upset because those in Washington never seemed to hear us. I helped organize the march on Washington DC in 2009. I emceed that event over one and a half million people and I kept saying Washington can you hear us now? Business as usual continued. It's like those in DC, they’re tone deaf to would- to us who they're supposed to be representing. Now I must said that when we organize ourselves into a tea party movement, and we worked in 2010 to remove from office all those liberals who voted for Obamacare, we gave Republican control of the house, but Republicans didn't cut spending either. Instead they made corrupt deals and they increased the debt, and I'm upset because when we began working with others who are just as angry as we were to approach house bailouts and express ourselves about our government- the government turned and targeted us with the most feared agency at its disposal, the IRS.

They try to take our free speech from us and they silenced much of our efforts and frankly we still feel the effects of that today. And I'm upset they even after Lois Lerner revealed the IRS had deliberately targeted American citizens for you- just for using our First Amendment rights, the freedom of speech, the freedom of association, she's not been held accountable, no one has held her accountable and it was almost three years ago. I'm upset and I'm angry. I know I'm not the only one who feels that way, do you feel this way too?

Let me give you some good news. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of the Tea Party's death are greatly exaggerated. Stop and think about the top three contenders for the Republican nomination for president. All of them, to varying degrees, are running as tea party candidates. You have Marco Rubio who ran for the Senate in 2010 explicitly on Tea Party values. Our values helped elect him. Unfortunately, once he got to Washington, he allowed himself to be used by the other side on an issue of great importance to us. He's been made trying to make up for that ever since. Ted Cruz ran for the Senate and 2012 explicitly as a Tea Party candidate, our people helped elect him, and once he was in office, Ted Cruz championed the Tea Party values. He fought the establishment, and he stayed true to his principles and he stayed true to our- he our principles in his promises.

And Donald Trump. He took a look at the political environment, he decided- when he decided to run for president and he said to himself, “this Tea Party movement is good for me.” So he took on one of the biggest issues it drives a tea party today and he did his best to make it his own. And since then I've heard him say over and over again, I love the Tea Party, and he said his best to cloak himself in the garb of the Tea Party, taking on the establishment. Now think about that for just a moment, seven years ago the Tea Party movement did not exist. Today, Republican candidates running for president know that if they want to win the nomination, they have to appear at the very least to be Tea Party. In seven years time, that's not bad, it's not bad at all, not dead yet.

We need to speak some hard truths this morning because one of these candidates I just talked about is not tea party at all. I know Donald Trump says that he loves a tea party, but that's not what it takes to be tea party. If you want to be tea party- if you want to be tea party you have to love our country, and you have to love our Constitution, and you have to be willing to fight for them above your own interest and you have to put- you have to put freedom- you have to come freedom above your own interest. And let me ask you a question. Have you ever heard Donald Trump talk about the Tea Party? I have some serious questions about his fidelity to the document the Tea Partiers Revere.

For instance, Donald Trump recently said that if he got to be President, he would and I quote open up the libel laws, to make it easier for him to sue newspapers who wrote unkind things about him. The right to speak freely without fear reprisal is enshrined in our Constitution. That's what makes America different from every other country on the face of the earth, we're here, we can speak her mind even criticize our government, and even criticize our political leaders without fear reprisal. We are protected by our Constitution to do so, and when I hear a candidate say he wants to mess with our rights to free speech, I fear for our Constitution and our country. Because that's not tea party. In fact, the tea party fought tooth and nail to keep our free speech.

But that's not the only reason I know Donald Trump isn't what he says he is. A look at - looked at his history and his background raised very serious questions. Donald Trump stole a line from Ronald Reagan. He says he wants to make America great again. Well I'm going to borrow a line from Ronald Reagan, trust but verify. Here's- here's what I verified. Many of Donald Trump's critics say he's inconsistent. He was for universal health care before he was against it, he once supported the biggest tax increase in history, and now he says he wants to cut taxes. He was pro-choice before he became pro-life, he donated to Democrats before he donated to Republicans, he funded the establishment candidates against the tea party before he said he loved the Tea Party.

Yes he's inconsistent if you look at all the issues that he flip flops on, but if you look at his motivation for taking those positions you'll see that in fact there is a remarkable consistency. It's the consistency of serving his own interest because you can always count on this. On any given issue at any given time, Donald Trump will take the position that serves his interest as he perceives it at that time. Are you still not sure? Listen up. When a little old lady mind you, a widow, refused to sell her property to him so he can knock down her house for a parking garage next to his casinos, Donald Trump tried to use the government to take her property away from her. The property right, the right to use and own your property as you see fit is one of the essential elements of limited government. Anyone who is not understand and defend the property right has no business serving in elected office let alone the presidency.

Using the government- using the government to force a property owner to give up her property that she doesn't want to sell, that is not tea party. And in 2013 when so many of us were fighting to stop the gang of eight amnesty bill, Trump issued statements saying he was for amnesty. For the last eight months, he's been saying he's against the amnesty and that he wants to build a wall, but in the last few days we've heard he may have told the New York Times something entirely different. We don't know because it's off the record and he won't release the tape. And last night he said he's softening his position on immigration. We don’t even know where he stands on this issue today. That's not tea party.

A few years back Donald Trump decided to trade his reputation as a real estate tycoon and make money by marketing a series of real estate seminars. So he opened up what he called a university bearing his name and apparently took a lot of people for a lot of money, so much so that he's now defending not one, not two, but three separate lawsuits on the matter- could have five thousand plaintiffs. Scamming people out of their hard-earned money? Definitely not tea party. In each of those cases, Donald Trump was serving his own interest as he perceived them at the time. Donald Trump is about love of himself, but the Tea Party is about love of country and the love of our Constitution.

I know you're angry and I know you're upset too, and I know the Donald Trump is tapping into that anger. It's a smart campaign strategy because he makes it seem like he shares our frustration and it's like he's fighting on our behalf, and when he says he wants to make America great again, we cheer because we all believe America is great and we appreciate what sounds like love of country on his part. It's a seductive pitch and I have several friends and colleagues who support him even as I speak.

Here's what I think. Donald Trump loves himself first, last, and everywhere in between. He loves himself more than our country, he loves himself more than the Constitution, he doesn’t love you or me he doesn't love the tea party. Donald Trump has no business thinking he's tea party, and every tea party person who truly loves the Constitution should take that into account when casting their vote. And why should you vote for Donald Trump anyway? If you're a tea party, you've got a much better candidate to support Ted Cruz. I know, I know and I work with Ted Cruz ever since he came to the Senate and I know him as a man of his word, a man of honor, a man of integrity, a man who keeps his promises, and- and let me tell you, in Washington that makes him a rare man. A very, very rare man.

When it was time to fight the implementation of Obamacare or fight the increase in the debt ceiling or work to block amnesty for illegal immigrants, Ted Cruz led the charge. On issue after issue, Ted Cruz stood strong for our Constitution. He's kept his promises and he won't back down. I'm proud Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund endorsed Ted Cruz for president. It's not just about a man though, it's about our principles. Our candidate really is the Constitution. We support Ted Cruz because he reveres and defends the Constitution. I'm- I'm proud to know that any time we're in a battle against Washington insiders I can always count on Ted Cruz to be on the right side, to be right by our side.

We have an historic opportunity this year. We have the most conservative candidates since Ronald Reagan running for president. I've never even been able to vote for a candidate who’s conservative. He's demonstrated that his campaign- that he in his campaign he can beat Donald Trump and he can win the general election against Hillary Clinton. But he needs our help, and that means I need your help. Please go to our website at or go to our booth and join us to make calls to get targeted voters out in upcoming primary elections. We're about to move into the winner-take-all States, and that's where the nomination will be decided, so if you're looking to make a difference, volunteer to help and nominate a true conservative and someone who loves the constitution. Join us to do this.

Our country is great because of her people and because of our Constitution. And Ted Cruz, we have a man who understands that, who respects that, who will lead us into the future guided by the time-tested principles established in our founding. Most importantly, he understands that our rights flow from our Creator not our government. He understands, that means the government is meant to be a servant of the people not the other way around. Ted Cruz is not going to back down from standing for our freedom. Neither will I and I hope neither will you. Thank you very much.