Trump, DeSantis among 2024 GOP hopefuls set to appear at Moms for Liberty gathering

trump desantis among 2024 gop hopefuls set to appear at moms for liberty gathering
The Associated Press

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the main rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, are scheduled to speak at the annual gathering of Moms for Liberty

Trump, DeSantis among 2024 GOP hopefuls set to appear at Moms for Liberty gatheringBy ALI SWENSONAssociated PressThe Associated PressPHILADELPHIA

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the main rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, are scheduled to speak Friday at the annual gathering of Moms for Liberty, a two-year-old group that has fiercely opposed instruction related to race and gender identity in the nation’s classroom.

The group, which has quickly become a force in conservative politics, advocates “ parental rights ” in education, but an anti-hate watchdog has labeled it “ extremist ” for allegedly harassing community members, advancing anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation and fighting to scrub diverse and inclusive material from lesson plans.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and DeSantis’ wife, Casey DeSantis, also are slated to address the group Friday at the downtown Philadelphia hotel hosting the conference. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are set to give remarks on Saturday.

Their attendance underscores the influence of a group that didn’t exist two years ago. Since then, it has made connections with powerful GOP organizations, politicians and donors to become a major player in 2024.

The group has transformed from three Florida moms opposing COVID mandates in 2021 to claiming 285 chapters across 45 states. Along the way, it has found a close ally in DeSantis, who was presented with a “liberty sword” at the group’s first annual meeting last year and has signed multiple bills that Moms for Liberty supported.

Beyond remarks from the candidates and other speakers, the summit will feature strategy sessions on such topics as “protecting kids from gender ideology” and “comprehensive sex education: sex ed or sexualization.”

Parent activists and LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations have said they plan to protest outside the conference, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of the group as an “anti-government extremist” organization.

Others mentioned recent incidents, including an Indiana Moms for Liberty chapter publishing an Adolf Hitler quote in its newsletter before apologizing and removing it, and a Tennessee chapter complaining about lessons on Black civil rights figures Martin Luther King Jr. and Ruby Bridges.

Several historical associations, state senators, activists and employees at Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution pleaded unsuccessfully with the museum to cancel a welcome event for the conference planned for Thursday night.

“The very history that we’re presenting within the walls of the museum is a more diverse and therefore more accurate telling of history,” said Trish Norman, an assistant curator at the museum who protested the event. “And Moms for Liberty is notorious for erasing LGBTQ voices and Black voices from history.”

The museum told the AP that “because fostering understanding within a democratic society is so central to our mission, rejecting visitors on the basis of ideology would in fact be antithetical to our purpose.”

Several groups were set to rally against the meeting in downtown Philadelphia on Friday. Among them was People for the American Way’s “Grandparents for Truth” campaign, which the organization says mobilizes grandparents and other supporters “who are fighting for the next generation’s freedom to learn.”

One such grandparent, Maureen Carreño, said she wasn’t taught a diverse history as a child and wants something different for her five grandkids.

“I would hope that we teach the totality of history. And yes, it might make you feel a little bad or sad or something, but that’s part of history,” she said.

Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice said the protesters “obviously don’t know very much about our organization,” and if they wanted to, “they could have come to the summit instead of standing on the street.”

Though Moms for Liberty says it is nonpartisan, it has largely drawn conservative support. The group also has fought to elect conservative candidates to school boards around the country.

While the group’s status as a 501(c)4 nonprofit means it doesn’t have to disclose its funders, its public donors include conservative powerhouses such as the Heritage Foundation and the Leadership Institute, a national political training organization.

Patriot Mobile, a far-right Christian cellphone company paying to sponsor Trump’s remarks at the conference, has a PAC that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to take charge of Texas school boards.

Mom for Liberty’s Florida-based PAC also has received a $50,000 donation from Julie Fancelli, a Republican donor whose family owns Publix grocery stores and who helped fund Trump’s Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally, according to House Jan. 6 committee findings. Fancelli didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running in the Democratic presidential primary, had been scheduled to speak at the group’s summit, but his “campaign told us his schedule changed,” Justice said.

Kennedy’s press team said he dropped out “for family reasons.” Hours later, Kennedy said during a town hall with NewsNation that he “made a mistake by accepting that invitation” and that once he learned of Moms for Liberty’s positions on LGBTQ+ issues, he “declined to go.”


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Authored by Ap via Breitbart June 29th 2023