Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Chairman Jenny Beth Martin’s Remarks from CPAC

Hello, CPAC!

You know, the President of the United States last addressed this 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 in the draft that confused him.

So he asked, “What is this movement you keep talking about in the speech?”

The speechwriter, stunned, responded.

“Well, the CONSERVATIVE movement,” he answered. “You know, the one that started back in the sixties, when conservative groups first took root.”

That apparently didn’t sit well with the President. “Let me tell you something,” he said. “I whupped Gary Bauer’s ass in 2000. So take all this movement stuff out. There is no movement.”

I wish we’d known that story eight years BEFORE the end of his presidency … rather than eight years AFTER.

Is it any wonder a lot of us began to doubt the Republican Party during that presidency?  A man who ran for President claiming to BE a conservative didn’t GOVERN as a conservative.

He oversaw the largest expansion of federal spending since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, and when the big banks got in trouble, his solution was to force the Congress to hand over 700 billion taxpayer dollars that we didn’t have.

Worse, he laid the groundwork for Barack Obama …

Who, within a month of taking office, CALLED President Bush’s $700 billion bailout and RAISED it by $87 billion – again, with borrowed money.

It was seven years ago last week, in response to that 787 billion dollar so-called “stimulus package” that had worked its way through Congress, that the modern Tea Party movement was born.

Now, we’re just regular people, nothing special. But we share something in common – a deep and abiding love for our country, and for what makes it so SPECIAL: Our Constitution, and the rights it protects. Rights that came to us from our Creator, not our government.

Our freedom.

We’re fighting to defend it against the liberals who want to fundamentally transform it.

Many of us are angry and upset at our government because we see Washington Insiders make deals that grow the government and our national debt with no regard to the impact their deals have on our lives.

And we want to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

And I’ll bet that motivates a lot of you, too.

And when Rick Santelli ranted against the Stimulus Bill on the floor of 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 could do to take up Santelli’s call to action and have a tea party like our founding fathers.

Within a week, we held protests in cities large and small, all over the country. By April 15, we had organized more than 850 of them, engaging millions of fed up Americans. And we haven’t looked back since.

Let me ask a question: How many of you are ANGRY and UPSET with the federal government?

I’m UPSET because those in Washington seem never to hear us. I helped organize the 912 March on DC, and throughout the day, as I emceed that event with over one and half million people, I kept saying, “Washington, can you HEAR US NOW?” Business as usual continued. It’s like those in DC are tone deaf to the people they were sent to represent.

I’m UPSET that when we organized ourselves into the Tea Party movement and worked in 2010 to remove from office all those liberals who had voted for ObamaCare, we gave Republicans control of the House. But Republicans did not cut spending, either – instead, they made corrupt deals and increased the debt.

I’m UPSET because when we began working with others who were just as angry as we were, to protest the bailouts, the government started targeting us with the most feared agency at its disposal – the IRS. They tried to take our free speech from us, and silenced much of our efforts. We still feel those effects today.

I’m UPSET that even after Lois Lerner revealed the IRS had deliberately targeted American citizens for using their First Amendment rights of freedom of association, and freedom of speech, no one held her to account. That was almost THREE YEARS AGO, and she STILL hasn’t been held to account.

I’M UPSET.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Do you feel that way, too?

Well, let me give you some GOOD news, then.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the death of the Tea Party are HIGHLY EXAGGERATED.

Stop and think – the three TOP CONTENDERS for the Republican nomination for President are all, to varying degrees, running as Tea Party candidates.

MARCO RUBIO ran for the Senate in 2010 explicitly as a Tea Party candidate. Our values helped him get elected. Unfortunately, once he was in office, he allowed himself to be used by the OTHER side on an issue of great importance, and he’s been trying to make up for it ever since.

TED CRUZ ran for the Senate in 2012 explicitly as a Tea Party candidate. Our people helped HIM get elected, too – and once HE was in office, TED CRUZ became a CHAMPION of Tea Party values, and fought the Establishment whenever necessary to stay true to his promises and our principles.

And DONALD TRUMP took a look at the political environment when he decided to run for President, and said to himself, “Self, that Tea Party is the thing for me!”

So he took on one of the biggest issues that drives the Tea Party today, and did his best to make it his own. Since then, we’ve heard him say over and over again, “I love the Tea Party!” And he’s done his best to cloak himself in the GARB of the Tea Party, taking on the Establishment.

Think about that: Seven years ago, the Tea Party movement did not exist. Today, Republican candidates for President know that if they want to win the nomination, they have to – at the very least – APPEAR to be Tea Party.

In seven years’ time, that’s not bad. Not bad at all. NOT. DEAD. YET.

But we need to speak some hard truths this morning. Because one of the candidates I just talked about isn’t really Tea Party at all.

I know DONALD TRUMP says he loves the Tea Party – but THAT’S not what it TAKES 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 INTERESTS and PUT OUR FREEDOM ABOVE YOUR OWN INTERESTS.

Let me ask you a question – have you EVER heard DONALD TRUMP talk about the CONSTITUTION?

I haven’t. And I’ve got serious questions about his fidelity to the document all 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,” unquote, to make it easier for him to sue newspapers that wrote unkind things about him.

The right to speak freely, without fear of reprisal, is ENSHRINED in our Constitution. It’s what makes America DIFFERENT from every other country on the face of the earth – here, we can speak our mind, even criticize our government and our political leaders, without fear of reprisal. And we are protected by the Constitution when we do so.

So when I hear a candidate say he wants to mess with our rights to free speech, I fear for our Constitution and I fear for our COUNTRY. Because that’s NOT Tea Party – and in fact the Tea Party fought the government 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 his history, and his background, raises 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.

And here’s what I have verified:

Many of DONALD TRUMP’S critics say he’s INCONSISTENT.

He was for UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE before he was AGAINST it.

He once supported the biggest tax INCREASE in history, 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 establishment candidates against the tea party before he said he loved the tea party.

Yes, he IS inconsistent – if all you look at is the FLIP-FLOPS on the ISSUE POSITIONS.

But if you look at his MOTIVATION for TAKING those positions, you’ll see that there is, in fact, a REMARKABLE CONSISTENCY – it’s the consistency of serving HIS OWN interests …

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 THE TIME.

Still not sure? LISTEN UP:

When a little old lady – a widow, mind you – refused to sell her property to him so he could knock  down her house and put up a PARKING GARAGE for one of his CASINOS, DONALD TRUMP tried to use the government to take her property away from her.

The property right – the right to own and use property as one sees fit – is one of the ESSENTIAL elements of limited government. Anyone who does not understand and defend the property right has no business serving in elected office, let alone the presidency.

Using the government to force a property owner to give up property she doesn’t want to sell? THAT’S NOT TEA PARTY.

In 2013 when so many of us were fighting to stop the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, DONALD TRUMP issued statements that he was FOR amnesty. For the last 8 months he has been saying he is against amnesty and will build a wall.

In the last few days we have heard he may have told the New York Times something entirely different. Last night he said he is “SOFTENING” his position on immigration. We do not even really know where he stands on this issue today. THAT’S NOT TEA PARTY.

A few years back, DONALD TRUMP decided to trade on his reputation as a real estate tycoon and make money by marketing a series of real estate seminars. So he opened what he called a “university” bearing his name, and apparently took a lot of people for a lot of money – so much so that’s he’s now defending himself in not one, not two, but THREE SEPARATE lawsuits on the matter, with 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 INTERESTS AS HE PERCEIVED THEM AT THE TIME.

DONALD TRUMP IS ABOUT LOVE OF HIMSELF. But the Tea Party is about love of COUNTRY, and love of our CONSTITUTION.

I know you’re angry, and upset. I am, too. And I know Donald Trump is tapping into that anger. It’s a smart campaign strategy, because he makes it seem like he shares our frustrations, like he cares about 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 in between. He loves himself MORE than the country. He loves himself MORE than the Constitution. He does not love you or me. He does not love the Tea Party.

DONALD TRUMP HAS NO BUSINESS THINKING HE’S TEA PARTY, AND EVERY TEA PARTY SUPPORTER 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 Tea Party, you’ve got a much better candidate to support – TED CRUZ!

I have known and worked with Ted Cruz ever since he came to the Senate three years ago.

I know him as a man of his word, a man of honor and integrity, a man who keeps his promises.

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 AN INCREASE IN THE DEBT CEILING … or BLOCK AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, Ted Cruz LED THE CHARGE.

On issue after issue, TED CRUZ has STOOD STRONG for our Constitution. He has KEPT HIS PROMISES. And he WON’T BACK DOWN.

I am PROUD that Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund ENDORSED TED CRUZ for President.

This is not just about a man, though. It is about our principles.

Our CANDIDATE is the CONSTITUTION. And we support TED CRUZ because he reveres and defends the CONSTITUTION.

I am PROUD to know that any time we’re in a battle against the Washington Insiders, I can always count on TED CRUZ to be on the RIGHT side … right by OUR side.

We have an HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY this year. We have the MOST CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE since RONALD REAGAN running for the Republican nomination.

He has demonstrated that HIS is the campaign that can beat Donald Trump and win the general election against Hillary Clinton.

But he NEEDS OUR HELP. And that means I need YOUR help.

We’re about to move into the winner-take-all states, and THAT is where the nomination will be DECIDED.

So if you’re looking to MAKE A DIFFERENCE, volunteer to help nominate a TRUE CONSERVATIVE and someone who LOVES the CONSTITUTION, join us.

Our country is great because of her PEOPLE, and our CONSTITUTION.

In 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 at the time of our FOUNDING.

Most importantly, he understands that our rights flow from our CREATOR, not our government, and he understands that government is meant to be the servant of the people, and not the other way around.

He’s not going to back down from standing for our freedom.

NEITHER WILL I – and neither, I hope, will you!