News & Politics

Tea Party Leader Jenny Beth Martin Lays out Case Against Trump at CPAC

Jenny Beth Martin, president and co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, called on conservatives at CPAC this morning to do what they can to prevent “narcissist” Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee, and urged them to support Ted Cruz.

As she laid out her case against Trump, she noted that while he is inconsistent on virtually every issue, the man is actually “remarkably consistent” when it comes to taking positions that serve his interests as he perceives them at the time.

Here are some key excerpts from the speech:

I know Donald Trump says he loves the Tea Party – but that’s not what it takes to be Tea Party. If you want to be Tea Party, you have to love our country and you have to love our Constitution. And you have to be willing to fight for them above your own interests and put our freedom above your own interests.

Let me ask you a question – have you ever heard Donald Trump talk about the Constitution? I haven’t. And I’ve got serious questions about his fidelity to the document all Tea Partiers revere.

For instance, Donald Trump recently said that if he got to be president, he would, and I quote, “open up the libel laws,” unquote, to make it easier for him to sue newspapers that wrote unkind things about him.

The right to speak freely, without fear of reprisal, is enshrined in our Constitution. It’s what makes America different from every other country on the face of the earth – here, we can speak our mind, even criticize our government and our political leaders, without fear of reprisal. And we are protected by the Constitution when we do so.

So when I hear a candidate say he wants to mess with our rights to free speech, I fear for our Constitution and I fear for our country. Because that’s not Tea Party – and in fact the Tea Party fought the government tooth and nail to keep our free speech.

But that’s not the only reason I know Donald Trump isn’t what he says he is. A look at his history, and his background, raises very serious questions.

Donald Trump stole a line from Ronald Reagan – he says he wants to make America great again. Well, I’m going to borrow a line from Ronald Reagan – trust, but verify. And here’s what I have verified:

Many of Donald Trump’s critics say he’s inconsistent. He was for universal healthcare before he was against it. He once supported the biggest tax increase in history, now he says he wants to cut taxes. He was pro-choice before he became pro-life. He donated to Democrats before he donated to Republicans. He funded establishment candidates against the tea party before he said he loved the tea party.

Yes, he is inconsistent – if all you look at is the flip-flops on the issue positions. But if you look at his motivation for taking those positions, you’ll see that there is, in fact, a remarkable consistency – it’s the consistency of serving his own interests…

Because you can always count on this: On any given issue, at any given time, Donald Trump will take the position that serves his interest as he perceives it at the time.

Still not sure? Listen up:

When a little old lady – a widow, mind you – refused to sell her property to him so he could knock down her house and put up a parking garage for one of his casinos, Donald Trump tried to use the government to take her property away from her.

The property right – the right to own and use property as one sees fit – is one of the essential elements of limited government. Anyone who does not understand and defend the property right has no business serving in elected office, let alone the presidency. Using the government to force a property owner to give up property she doesn’t want to sell? That’s not tea party.

In 2013 when so many of us were fighting to stop the Gang of Eight amnesty bill, Donald Trump issued statements that he was for amnesty. For the last 8 months he has been saying he is against amnesty and will build a wall.

In the last few days we have heard he may have told the New York Times something entirely different. Last night he said he is “softening” his position on immigration. We do not even really know where he stands on this issue today. That’s not tea party.

A few years back, Donald Trump decided to trade on his reputation as a real estate tycoon and make money by marketing a series of real estate seminars. So he opened what he called a “university” bearing his name, and apparently took a lot of people for a lot of money – so much so that’s he’s now defending himself in not one, not two, but three separate lawsuits on the matter, with five thousand plaintiffs. Scamming people out of their hard-earned money? Definitely not tea party..

In each of those cases, Donald Trump was serving his own interests as he perceived them at the time. Donald Trump is about love of himself. But the Tea Party is about love of country, and love of our Constitution.

I know you’re angry, and upset. I am, too. And I know Donald Trump is tapping into that anger. It’s a smart campaign strategy, because he makes it seem like he shares our frustrations, like he cares about fighting on our behalf.

And when he says he wants to “make America great again,” we cheer – because we all believe America is great, and we appreciate what sounds like love of country on his part. It’s a seductive pitch, and I have several friends and colleagues who support him, even as I speak.

Here’s what I think:

Donald Trump loves himself first, last, and in between. He loves himself more than the country. He loves himself more than the Constitution. He does not love you or me. He does not love the Tea Party.

Donald Trump has no business thinking he’s tea party, and every tea party supporter who truly loves the Constitution should take that into account when casting their vote.

And why should you vote for Donald Trump, anyway? If you’re Tea Party, you’ve got a much better candidate to support – Ted Cruz! I have known and worked with Ted Cruz ever since he came to the Senate three years ago. I know him as a man of his word, a man of honor and integrity, a man who keeps his promises. In Washington, that makes him a rare man, a very, very rare man.

When it was time to fight the implementation of Obamacare… or fight an increase in the debt ceiling… or block amnesty for illegal immigrants, Ted Cruz led the charge. On issue after issue, Ted Cruz has stood strong for our Constitution. He has kept his promises. And he won’t back down. I am proud that Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund endorsed Ted Cruz for President.

This is not just about a man, though. It is about our principles. Our candidate is the Constitution. And we support Ted Cruz because he reveres and defends the Constitution.

I am proud to know that any time we’re in a battle against the Washington insiders, I can always count on Ted Cruz to be on the right side … right by our side.

We have an historic opportunity this year. We have the most conservative candidate since Ronald Reagan running for the Republican nomination. He has demonstrated that his is the campaign that can beat Donald Trump and win the general election against Hillary Clinton.

But he needs our help. And that means I need your help. Please, go to our website at or text liberty to 38570 and join us in making phone calls to targeted voters in upcoming primary contests. We’re about to move into the winner-take-all states, and that is where the nomination will be decided.

So if you’re looking to make a difference, volunteer to help nominate a true conservative and someone who loves the constitution, join us.

Our country is great because of her people, and our constitution.