Mona Charen, one of the founders of the “Never Trump” movement, made headlines at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday night when she went off-script and openly criticized the Republican Party’s approach to sexual harrasment.
During a panel discussion called “#UsToo: Left out by the Left,” National Review writer Charen was asked “what fires her up the most” about the left's treatment of women.
Her response elicited boos from the audience when she said, “I'm actually going to twist this around a bit and say that I'm disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extramarital affairs, who brag about mistreating women."
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"This was a party that was ready to endorse Roy Moore for U.S. Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester," Charen continued, as women in the audience could be heard shouting "Not true!"
Charen’s words angered so many in the crowd that, according to Politico’s Tim Alberta, three security guards had to escort Charen out of the conference hall for her own protection once the panel concluded. Charen later wrote that the guards “seemed genuinely concerned for my safety.”
On Sunday, Charen published an article in the New York Times defending her appearance, entitled, "I’m Glad I Got Booed at CPAC." Charen wrote of her appearance, " It must be done, again and again, by those of us who refuse to be absorbed into this brainless, sinister, clownish thing called Trumpism, by those of us who refuse to overlook the fools, frauds and fascists attempting to glide along in his slipstream into respectability."
CPAC’s annual straw poll published Saturday showed that 93 percent of attendees polled approve of Trump’s job performance in the White House – a stat Trump was quick to boast about on Twitter.
"BIG CPAC STRAW POLL RESULTS: 93% APPROVE OF THE JOB PRESIDENT TRUMP IS DOING (Thank you!). 50% say President Trump should Tweet MORE or SAME (funny!). 79% say Republicans in Congress should do a better job of working with President Trump (starting to happen)," Trump tweeted just past midnight on Sunday morning.
Charen, who is from a New York Jewish family, has long been a Trump critic and wrote in the National Review’s “Never Trump” manifesto in February 2016, during the Republican presidential primary.
“The man has demonstrated an emotional immaturity bordering on personality disorder, and it ought to disqualify him from being a mayor, to say nothing of a commander-in-chief,” Charen wrote of then-candidate Trump.
Charen, whose columns are often pro-Israel and call out rising authoritarianism overseas, also had some tough words for the CPAC organizers who earlier in the week stirred controversy by inviting far-right French politician Marion Le Pen, niece of National Front leader Marine Le Pen, to address the conference.
"The Le Pen name is a disgrace," Charen said. "Her grandfather is racist and a Nazi. She claims that she stands for him. And the fact that CPAC invited her is a disgrace.”
Charen's sentiment echoed other conservatives like Jonah Goldberg, also a writer at the National Review, whose condemnation of Le Pen’s invitation to CPAC led to alt-right publication Breitbart running the gloating headline: "Establishment right-wingers in meltdown over Marion Le Pen invite to CPAC."