A crowd of roughly 670 students gathered for Turning Point USA’s Campus Clash event at Montana State University on April 18.
According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the College Republicans and TPUSA chapter on campus hosted the event in an effort to “promote conservatism at colleges and universities.”
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) spoke at the event, along with TPUSA leaders such as Charlie Kirk, the organization’s founder and president, and Candace Owens, Director of Communications.
“It’s OK to be conservative. It’s OK to be pro-life. It’s OK to be pro-Trump.” – Sen. Daines
Gianforte, a Bozeman Republican, said that he has been a long-time supporter of Turning Point USA and the organization’s pressing of American exceptionalism, the U.S. Constitution and free-market capitalism.
Kirk and Owens addressed left-wing violence while on stage, in addition to the left’s use of identity politics, victimhood culture, and ill-minded policies that do not solve America’s problems.
Kirk warned the Montana students of leftist policies steadily creeping into conservative mindsets:
“Make no mistake, the left that you see on television is growing here in this very state,” Kirk said. “People from not successful states are bringing their bad ideas with them here to Montana. They’re bringing the failures of Washington, California and Oregon and trying to impose those values here, … and I think (we need to preserve) the freedoms and the values that are embedded in this Montana code of the West culture.”
At the end of the event, Kirk and Owens opened the floor to questions. As usual, they requested that students who disagree with their ideas speak first and speak loudly.
According to the Daily, the duo debated topics such as Medicare for All, the #MeToo Movement and Black Lives Matter.
Roughly an hour before the Campus Clash event, protestors were gathering outside, criticizing TPUSA for the organization’s definition of civil discourse and its “promotion of hate speech.”
Many signs read, “This protest is my freedom of speech” and “Your views are whack but I respect your freedom to express them.”
The Daily stated that roughly 20 students protested the event that night. The Daily had the opportunity to speak to the organizer of the demonstration, Iris Mora-Ortega:
“We have the same right to share our views as they do,” said Mora-Ortega. “We are welcoming them, but we want to share our voice too and show that what they see as civil discourse is not civil discourse.”
According to Kirk, nearly 800 students had to be turned away prior to the event.