At CPAC, Cotton flexes conservative credentials

“We will never surrender, and we will always defend and protect the United States of America,” Cotton told the receptive crowd.

Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton on Friday at CPAC called for “a simple, unapologetic patriotism,” while talking about security, freedom of speech and the left’s view of the country.

“We face many threats in this country, whether from China, or Iran, or Islamic terrorism, but there is no more pernicious threat to America, and the rejection of our founding principles and our heritage and our tradition,” Cotton said at the annual gathering of conservatives, this year in Orlando, Fla.

Cotton also lambast the Biden administration’s immigration plans, which attempt to undo many of former President Trump’s policies on illegal immigration, aimed in large part to secure U.S. borders and protect American workers.

Cotton recently worked with fellow GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, of Utah, on a measure to increase the federal minimum wage to $10 in exchange for ways to prevent businesses from hiring undocumented immigrants.

Cotton is among several speakers at this year’s Conservative Political Action Committee gathering that are considered likely and top-tier 2024 presidential candidates. The annual event is a must stop for those running for national office and looking to impress the GOP’s conservative base.

Cotton also recently sparked outrage with an opinion piece in the New York Times in which he argued for former President Trump to call in the military in response to the George Floyd protests.

Cotton on Friday also attacked the violence that occurred during last summer’s social justice protests.

“We will never surrender, and we will always defend and protect the United States of America,” Cotton said in ending his speech.

After defying COVID groupthink, Big Tech censors, DeSantis hosts CPAC as rising GOP star for 2024

When Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the stage to deliver a welcoming address at the Conservative Political Action Conference on his home field in Orlando Friday, it will be as a fast-rising force in the conservative movement and an increasingly plausible and popular contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.

DeSantis will be followed in the spotlight on the first full day of CPAC 2021 by a succession of marquee GOP names vying to woo the party’s conservative base at the movement’s signature annual gathering of the tribes. Among them will be potential 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls and aspiring heirs to the leadership of their party’s populist conservative wing, including Sens. Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, of Texas, Arkansas and Missouri, respectively.

On Sunday, the three of them, along with the rest of this year’s CPAC attendees will find out if there are openings for a 2024 GOP presidential nominee or a populist conservative standard bearer when Donald J. Trump makes his much-anticipated return to the political arena with a speech expected to provide a glimpse into the former president’s vision for the political future — both his own and that of his party.

In late September, DeSantis officially lifted all statewide COVID restrictions in Florida. Most famously, throughout the summer he prioritized getting Florida students back to in-person schooling as much as possible. Florida is presently one of four states that has issued an order directing schools to remain open.

Critics have slammed DeSantis’ approach as reckless and unscientific. At times, the governor has been accused of concealing COVID-19 death data, though evidence has yet to emerge to substantiate those claims.

Criticisms notwithstanding, Florida has fared better thus far in the pandemic than most states. It is 28 out of 50 for population-adjusted deaths, holding the same spot for population-adjusted positive tests. Its number of hospitalized residents, adjusted for population, is currently much lower than hard-lockdown states such as New Jersey and New York, as well as the District of Columbia.

The risks from COVID rise with advancing age, and Florida achieved its successes against the disease despite having a large retiree community and concomitantly a state population with the fifth-highest median age nationally.

Challenge to tech companies

More recently, DeSantis has vowed to take on what he and other Republicans and conservatives have claimed are mounting efforts by major technology companies to censor and ban non-liberal voices as well as intervene in the U.S. electoral process.

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