NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin forcefully came out against Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump here, urging adherents of the tea party movement not to be wooed by the billionaire’s “seductive pitch.”
The Cherokee County resident said she understood the billionaire’s appeal to the tea party faithful.
“I know you’re angry and I know you’re upset too and I know that Donald Trump’s tapping into that anger. It’s a smart campaign strategy because he makes it seem like he shares our frustration and it’s like he’s fighting on our behalf,” Martin told the crowd assembled at the Conservative Political Action Conference on the outskirts of Washington, D.C.
But she then went on to slam Trump as a false conservative, pointing to his record on eminent domain and press freedom and characterized him as politically inconsistent on issues such as health care, abortion and immigration.
“Donald Trump loves himself first, last and everywhere in between. He loves himself more than our country, he loves himself more than the constitution. He doesn’t love you, me, and he doesn’t love the tea party. Donald Trump has no business thinking he’s tea party and every tea party person who truly loves the constitution should take that into account when you’re casting your vote,” she said.
WSB Radio’s Jamie Dupree kindly provided this audio:
Not long after Martin’s speech, CPAC announced that Trump had decided to drop his appearance at the weekend event, Dupree said via Twitter.
Martin went on to endorse Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whom she called a “man of his word” and of “integrity.”
She also countered critics who say the tea party movement has lost steam in recent years. She said the presidential race’s three frontrunners, Trump, Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have at least made overtures to the movement’s principles, although she did criticize Rubio’s Senate record.
“Seven years ago the tea party movement did not exist. Today Republican candidates running for president know that if they want to win the nomination they have to appear at the very least to be tea party,” Martin said. “In seven years’ time that’s not bad, not bad at all. Not dead yet.”
Trump’s candidacy hasn’t just split evangelicals, but tea partyers as well. Another original tea party activist, Debbie Dooley, is a Trump backer.