Lawrence Jones and Tomi Lahren kicked off their coverage of this weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) by welcoming former White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp to “CPAC All Access Live!”
Jones kicked off the show by assessing the atmosphere at the first CPAC since Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in last year’s presidential election.
“It seems like the time for mourning has concluded,” he remarked. “I really think what shifted the conversation was when former President Trump was [confirmed to be] actually going to be speaking here.”
Jones and Lahren then welcomed Schlapp, whose husband Matt is the president of the convention and its governing body, the American Conservative Union. Jones began the interview by asking the former White House official “what went wrong” for the Trump campaign in 2020.
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“We were out there every day. We left everything out there on the field in terms of the campaign, in terms of what we were able to talk about … but it wasn’t enough,” she answered. “There’s no question that we lost the suburban women, the college- educated men, and that had a huge impact. While we made gains in the African-American community, while we made gains with Hispanics, it was not enough to offset what we needed to do.”
Schlapp added that while “the enthusiasm was there” for Trump in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan, she admitted that “when the campaign didn’t have Georgia as a top-tier state, that we needed to view it as a battleground state, that was a big mistake.”
In addition, Schlapp said that Democrats had effectively “centralized” their election efforts and ensured “that they were able to change the voting systems in many of these states.”
“At the end of the day,” Schlapp said, “what we needed to do was have a much stronger, stronger legal strategy that I don’t think really existed at the campaign or at the RNC.”
Pivoting to another important theme of the conference, Schlapp discussed the late conservative broacaster Rush Limbaugh, who died last week at age 70
Limbaugh, she noted, memorably gave the CPAC keynote address in 2009, energizing a packed basement ballroom at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Northwest Washington, D.C. for more than 90 minutes.
RUSH LIMBAUGH’S HUMBLE BEGINNINGS EXPLORED IN ‘RUSH LIMBAUGH: HIS WORDS’
“We love people, because we believe in their potential,” Schlapp said, reiterating the opening message from Limbaugh that afternoon.
Limbaugh rarely made public speeches and had dubbed his CPAC speech his “First Address to the Nation” due to it being carried live on C-SPAN and Fox News.
Fox Nation is also honoring the life of Limbaugh with a suite of exclusive specials available now.
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