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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Photo by Photo by Ashely Bautista

American political consultant and pollster, and former counselor to former President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway giving her speech during Texas A&M Young Americans for Freedom host Kellyanne Conway event at Rudder Forum on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

Senior counselor to former President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway spoke with students and staff at Texas A&M about current political talking points including the presidency of Joe Biden, life after the pandemic, and elections. 

On April 19 at 7 p.m., Young Americans for Freedom, or YAF, hosted Conway at the Rudder Forum inside Rudder Complex to discuss her interpretation of where the country is headed and how Republicans are responding. 

Conway opened up her lecture by stating that she came to the event to talk about freedom. She said she wants people to know what it means to progress the freedom agenda and how everyone has a part in that. 

“You’re already playing a part by being in a room like this and engaging,” Conway said. “You are the best ambassadors we have for the freedom agenda moving forward.” 

Many members in the community can listen to politicians and news anchors but when they see someone who looks like them and lives like them, it brings the community closer together, Conway said. 

“That is how we expand and prosper the freedom agenda,” Conway said. 

While continuing to discuss the freedoms that need to be preserved, such as unalienable rights, Conway said young adults and kids of the new generation have been given many obstacles that older generations were never given, such as life under COVID-19. Conway proceeded to discuss her take on the effectiveness of lockdowns and how Americans responded. 

“The COVID[-19] lockdowns were letdowns,” Conway said. “Maybe not here on the A&M campus as much, not in Texas, as much, but in plenty of places and there was no avoiding how it affected our lives. The question is what do we do moving forward? I’m in shock at how many people went from locking down smaller kids to then try and change their curriculum.” 

Conway said that a lot of people never took into consideration the loss in learning during the pandemic and the mental health challenges that many students felt. 

“They didn’t stop for a second to worry about that,” Conway said. 

Bringing the conversation back to students engaging in politics, Conway complimented students for their optimism and willingness to be at the event.

“Just by being here you’ve shown your resolve to stand up, to speak up, and to show up,” Conway said. “For that your reward will be great, and constant, and plentiful, I’m sure of it.”

Changing the discussion, Conway went on and said what she sees wrong with the Democratic Party. 

“I don’t see unity, I see unanimity [there’s a difference],” Conway said. “I see no one expressing their own opinion, if every single Democrat voted for the inflation reduction act in the United States Senate, where is the diversity?”

Conway said she wants unity. She added that unity allows for conversation among party members, but it also does not mean to compromise personal principles. 

“One party is for freedom, and one party is taking it away from us,” Conway said. “Through the tax code, through the regulatory seat, through things that sound great like build back better … It’s building back nothing. It’s just taking your money for more stuff, spending trillions of dollars of money we don’t have.”

Many polls show that independents are searching for more freedom, Conway said. 

“Joe Biden’s approval rating overall, is down,” Conway said. “It’s been that way for ages, one in a half times people disagree with him than approve of him, in some polls he is in the 30s.”

Conway would go on later in her speech to discuss her feelings and attitudes toward President Biden. 

“Joe Biden has obvious physical and mental deficits,” Conway said. “I know what I see, not what they say, but if we spend time doing that and not reminding people what they can’t see, we are wasting time.” 

Conway said she wants people to be reminded of things they might have forgotten about elected representatives or the president. 

“When I think of Joe Biden, I think of somebody who robs people of their livelihood and their freedom every single day,” Conway said. 

The conversation then moved toward the standard of living and how everyday items have gotten more expensive, Conway made a quick comment and said it’s a crisis created by bad policy. 

“It’s a man-made crisis,” Conway said. “It’s bad policy that you don’t think about, that you don’t see.”

Conway said that students should stand up for what they believe in and work to bring in voters to the Republican Party.  

“It’s important to stand up and speak up,” Conway said. “How are you different, let people know that from the beginning, I think young voters are in our sights … we can see them, but we can’t touch them yet.”

With election year being around the corner, she said that she disagrees with how many changes have been made surrounding the ballot box. 

“I don’t like the drop boxes, I don’t like vote by mail, I don’t like all this stuff about voting two months before election day and counting the ballots three weeks after,” Conway said. “It’s called graduation day, wedding day, retirement day, if it’s that significant it’s a day with a couple of exceptions here and there but what’s this voting weeks before, is it not that important that you can’t get there?”

Freedom lovers need to start competing for ballots and not just hearts and minds Conway said.

Economics senior and YAF president Rachel Sweeney discussed what the organization’s main priorities are and why they host speakers like Conway. 

“YAF is a conservative non-partisan organization here on campus,” Sweeney said. “Helping to hold true to conservative values and promote those values on campus. We do that through different activism and tabling, but mainly through bringing speakers [just like we brought Kellyanne tonight], we’ve brought Ben Shapiro last semester, and last year Vice President Mike Pence … Kellyanne is just another list of people that are here to fight for conservative values on our campus.” 

Sweeney said she wants students to walk away inspired and motivated politically. 

“I really want students to be inspired to fight for conservative values,” Sweeney said. “We find a lot of people aren’t really invested in political activism or social activism, getting involved in the issues that really matter.” 

Co-director of the True Texas Project Brazos Valley chapter John Cox said he had a great time attending the event. 

“I love the organization YAF,” Cox said. “It is a tremendous organization that I fully support and am glad they brought somebody as high profile as Kellyanne.” 

Cox said he thought Conway brought up very important and relevant information this afternoon.

“I think we do need to get the message of freedom and liberty out,” Cox said. “She did a very fair job talking about issues, talking about how to win, and what’s important because it’s not about personalities, it’s more about policy.”

Cox had asked a question toward the end of the event about the state of the Republican Party and did not fully agree with Kellyanne’s response, but he said that’s what it’s all about.  

“It was a great event,” Cox said. “She brought up great points. She presented herself well. She presented herself professionally, and respectfully to those that disagreed and that’s what we need more of.”

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  • Economics senior Rachel Sweeney closing the discussion during Texas A&M Young Americans for Freedom host Kellyanne Conway event at Rudder Forum on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

  • A&M professor asking American political consultant and pollster, and former counselor to former President Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway a question during Texas A&M Young Americans for Freedom host Kellyanne Conway event at Rudder Forum on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

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