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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – A weekend-long backlash over a decision to invite alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to the Conservative Political Action Conference ended Monday with an abrupt reversal. Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News and a frequent supplier of racist and sexist rhetoric, will no longer speak at the annual confab, a decision that appeared to catch him off guard.
“I haven’t heard any indication that they are reconsidering,” Yiannopoulos told CNNMoney early Monday afternoon. That changed less than an hour later, with the sponsor of the conference, the American Conservative Union, announcing that it had rescinded Yiannopoulos’ invitation.
The reason for the turnabout: A pair of video clips that surfaced Sunday in which Yiannopoulos appears to be speaking sympathetically about sex with young boys and cracking a joke about his own sexual encounter with a Catholic priest as a child.
“We continue to believe that CPAC is a constructive forum for controversies and disagreements among conservatives, however there is no disagreement among our attendees on the evils of sexual abuse of children,” ACU president Matt Schlapp said in a statement. That statement was apparently released to the public before it was seen by Yiannopoulos. When asked to confirm that his invitation to CPAC had been rescinded, Yiannopoulos told CNNMoney it was news to him.
“If so,” he said in an email, “I haven’t heard that.”
Later Monday, Simon & Schuster announced that it was canceling publication of Yianopoulos’ forthcoming book “Dangerous.”
The decision marked the culmination of a firestorm that erupted Saturday, when the ACU announced Yiannopoulos’ appearance at the conference. Many prominent conservative pundits provided the loudest voices of opposition to the decision. By Sunday, following the release of the two incendiary videos, the chorus of dissent had grown nearly deafening. Bill Kristol, the editor-at-large for the conservative Weekly Standard, said the invitation to Yiannopoulos was “despicable.”
Ned Ryun, a board member for the ACU, likewise objected to the decision. He said on Monday morning that members of the board were not consulted on the decision.
“While I’m all for free speech, there is such a thing as vile, hateful speech that does not deserve a platform,” Ryun tweeted.
Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor at the conservative National Review, described Yiannopoulos as “a promoter and apologist for the ‘Alt Right,’ a white supremacist coalition that seeks to be the alternative to mainstream conservative movement.”
“That in itself should be the only red flag CPAC needs,”
Following the decision to disinvite Yiannopoulos, Goldberg responded with something close to an eyeroll.
“Apparently the racism and anti-Semitism wasn’t a deal breaker,” Goldberg said. Rich Lowry, the top editor at the National Review, said it was “a colossal misjudgment to invite him.”
“He’s not a conservative, and in fact wants to overthrow Reagan conservatism, besides his other obvious failings,” Lowry said. “Now having disinvited him, CPAC looks like the censor–the worst of both worlds.”
In one of the videos, Yiannopoulos defended sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men.”
“In the homosexual world, particularly, some of those relationships between younger boys and older men the sort of ‘coming of age’ relationship those relationships in which those older men help those young boys discover who they are and give them security and safety and provide them with love and a reliable, sort of rock, where they can’t speak to their parents,” he said. Yiannopoulos wrote in response that the videos were “deceptively edited” and accused establishment Republicans of trying to smear him.
“I do not support pedophilia. Period,” he wrote.
In a phone interview on Monday, Yiannopoulos reiterated that point and said he was “guilty of imprecise language.”
“My kind of dry British sarcasm and penchant for provocation could have come off as flippant to other people, and that was unintended,” he told CNNMoney. “To be clear, I think it’s a vile and disgusting crime, and I’m horrified that people think I believe otherwise.”
Yiannopoulos said he believes his teenage experience with a member of the clergy gave him a license to discuss the matter in his own way, likening it to “gallows humor.”
“As a gay man who has some experience with this in his own childhood and adolescence, I thought it was OK to talk about the subject however I wanted because I felt like I owned it,” he said. CPAC, which regularly attracts political and media luminaries on the right, will kick off on Wednesday in National Harbor, Maryland. The event has become an essential stop for Republicans seeking public office and conservative commentators vying for a larger audience. The ACU announced Monday that President Donald Trump will speak Friday at the conference.
In some ways, the objections raised by the likes of Goldberg and Kristol harkened back to last year’s Republican presidential primary, when old guard conservatives opposed Trump while right-wing upstarts like Breitbart embraced his candidacy. Yiannopoulos said Monday that the uproar on the right over his CPAC invitation was another “chapter in that story.”
It wouldn’t have been Breitbart’s maiden voyage at CPAC. The site’s founder and namesake, Andrew Breitbart, spoke there in 2012, weeks before his death. The outlet has seen its influence swell in the years since. Its web traffic surged to record highs last year, establishing itself as perhaps the go-to source for Trump supporters. Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart chairman, now serves as one of Trump’s top advisers and will speak at the conference.
Earlier this month, the University of California-Berkeley canceled a scheduled appearance by Yiannopoulos after protests over the event turned violent. Last year, Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for leading a harassment campaign against “Saturday Night Live” cast member Leslie Jones. For a while, it appeared that Yiannopoulos might survive the controversy, as Schlapp defended the decision into the evening on Sunday. But by Monday, the pressure — particularly from those on the right — proved too much.
“We realize that Mr. Yiannopoulos has responded on Facebook, but it is insufficient,” Schlapp said in a statement. “It is up to him to answer the tough questions and we urge him to immediately further address these disturbing comments.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer has ramped up pressure on Donald Trump and the federal government to accept the mounting costs of protecting the president, the first family and their extended entourage.
Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, inserted himself into the debate on Sunday, saying it costs $500,000 per day for nearly 200 police officers to protect Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which houses the Trump family business headquarters and serves as the home of the first lady, Melania Trump, and the couple s son, Barron. The senator estimated the cost could rise to as much as $183m annually. At current estimates, even a four-year Trump administration could be heading for a billion dollars in taxpayer-borne costs an eight-fold increase of the $97m Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, estimates it cost to protect Barack Obama over the two terms of his administration. The estimated costs of guarding Trump Tower have varied from $1m a day (during daily protests before the inauguration) to around $100,000 for the first lady and Barron, 10, who are staying in New York until at least the end of the school year.
Schumer urged Trump to include the costs in the federal budget, noting that New York City has only been reimbursed $7m of $35m requested for the cost of protecting the tower for the period between election day and the Inauguration.
It s simply unfair to have New York City taxpayers alone bear the burden of NYPD protection at Trump Tower. President Trump: this is your protection, so I challenge you to put these costs in your upcoming federal budget and make a commitment to reimburse New York City, Schumer said during a press briefing at his Manhattan office. In contrast, the cost of protecting former president Obama during his four trips to the city last year came to just $4.1m. The costs of protecting the Obama family home in Chicago over the same pre-inauguration period in his presidency was estimated at $2.2m. Senator Schumer s comments come as the full costs of protecting the first family in the lifestyle that it is accustomed are only just starting to be understood.
Last week, officials in Palm Beach said the cost of hosting the president at his Mar-a-Lago estate amounted to $60,000 a day for police overtime. Trump stayed at Mar-a-Lago for nearly 16 days, from 16 December to 1 January as president-elect, and has visited his private resort home on three consecutive weekends this month, driving up the costs to an estimated half-million dollars. Kirk Blouin, the town s director of public safety, told the Sun-Sentinel that the municipality was overwhelmed .
Trump s frequent trips to his self-styled Winter White House in Florida are burdening local businesses. While Air Force One lands at Palm Beach, Lantana, the small airport near Mar-a-Lago, is closed for business during the president s trips. A banner-flying company operating from there told the Chicago Tribune it has lost more than $40,000 in contracts. Schumer said he would cooperate with Palm Peach counties in trying to claw back the costs, adding that the cost of protecting the president in Florida was an additional and unusual expense .
We have not had a president with an auxiliary White House, he added. Using figures based on a government report analyzing White House travel, the Washington Post estimated Trump s Florida trips have cost the federal government about $10m since his inauguration. That includes money for Coast Guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military and security expenses.
Trump administration officials have argued that the president s weekend jaunts are correctly described as working weekends: this includes hosting Japan s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, over the weekend of 10 February and interviewing potential national security adviser picks over this past weekend.
He is not vacationing when he goes to Mar-a-Lago, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told The Washington Post last week. The president works nonstop every day of the week, no matter where he is. However, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders was forced to concede that Trump had indeed played a full round of golf on Sunday, not just a couple of holes as had been initially stated. The golf website No Laying Up reported that one of his companions, four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, had unintentionally outed the President.
He probably shot around 80, McIlroy told the website. He s a decent player for a guy in his 70 s!
It is now estimated that Trump has played golf six times in his first 32 days in office.
The president is going to have to be sensitive to the cost of travelling around, said Judicial Watch CEO Tom Fitton, who recommends the president use the helicopter-accessible presidential retreat of Camp David in Maryland. I appreciate he wants to go home to Mar-a-Lago every weekend but it is costly to do so and the work he does there he can do elsewhere. The watchdog group estimates Air Force One costs around $180,000 an hour to operate. Additionally, Trump s trips to Florida require the costs of his Secret Service detail, the cost of a cargo plane to bring his cars down there as well as putting other assets in places.
It adds up to a tremendous cost, said Fitton. Additional costs are also mounting for protecting the Trump children in their daily lives and on their frequent business trips abroad.
Last week, Eric Trump and his brother, Donald Trump Jr, traveled to Dubai to open a Trump-branded golf course. Estimates compiled by the Washington Post, put the cost of Secret Service hotel bills alone in excess of $16,000. Meanwhile, Eric Trump s trip to visit a Trump-brand condo tower in Uruguay cost an estimated $100,000 in hotel bills.
The presidency is too big and costs too much and we re seeing that front and center with President Trump, said Fitton. The president should look into saving money on White House operations, and he s going to have to be sensitive to the cost of travelling around.
Judicial Watch filed several freedom of information requests to obtain records of Obama travel spending. This includes a $1,012,367.76 trip to give a global warming speech in the Everglades in 2015; a fundraising trip to San Diego in the same year costing $2,181,655.99; and a February 2016 Aspen skiing trip for Michelle Obama and her daughters, which cost taxpayers a total of $222,875.58.
- This article was amended on 20 February 2017 to correct the location of Camp David. It is in Maryland, not Virginia.
- ^ Donald Trump (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Judicial Watch (www.judicialwatch.org)
- ^ New York (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ Sun-Sentinel (www.sun-sentinel.com)
- ^ Chicago Tribune (www.chicagotribune.com)
- ^ Florida (www.theguardian.com)
- ^ government report (www.gao.gov)
- ^ The Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com)
- ^ No Laying Up (nolayingup.com)
Chomping at Bits comes stocked with the best Florida Gators links and news we can find, and some other stuff. Got a link you think we should check out? Email us at , subject line CAB, or find us on Twitter at @AlligatorArmy or on Facebook at Facebook.com/AlligatorArmy.
Florida baseball sweeps opening series: The Gators swept their three-game home and season opening series with William & Mary. Florida picked up a 5-4 victory on Friday, an 8-1 win on Saturday, and an 11-6 triumph on Sunday. (Florida Gators; Ethan Bauer, Independent Florida Alligator; Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald; Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun)
Gator softball goes 4-1, wins Aquafina Invitational: Florida opened home play this weekend. The Gators defeated Florida A&M, 8-1, and Northwestern State, 9-3, on Friday. Florida dropped their first contest of the season to Maryland, 4-2, on Saturday, before turning around and picking up another victory over Northwestern State, 10-0. Florida finished their weekend with a 5-0 win over FIU on Sunday. The 10-1 Gators have played 11 games in the last ten days. (Herb Brooks, Florida Gators)
Thoughts on the Gators 57-52 victory over Mississippi State: On Florida s struggles, point guard ball security, the Gators defensive identity, and KeVaughn Allen and Devin Robinson. Also noted: Florida is hopeful that Canyon Barry will be available for Tuesday night s game against South Carolina. (Chris Harry, Florida Gators)
UF gymnastics wins at Arkansas: The Gators swept the individual event titles – all with marks of 9.92 or better. No. 3 Florida earned a 197.125 to 195.20 win over the No. 23 Razorbacks. (Mary Howard, Florida Gators)
Florida women s tennis extends home win-streak to 163: The No. 1 Gators defeated No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 5 Stanford this weekend. As I mentioned in this weekend s open thread, Florida s 163 game win streak is the longest active home win streak of any NCAA Division I team in any sport. (Kathy Cafazzo, Florida Gators)
Three Gators post season-best times at Tiger Invitational: The three Gator competitors at the event all came away with season-best times, including a pair of personal records for Michael Timpson, Jr. (Zach Dirlam, Florida Gators)
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