GOP senator to high schoolers: Move beyond 'owning the libs'

GOP senator to high schoolers: Move beyond 'owning the libs'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Trump awards Medal of Freedom to racing industry icon Roger Penske Trump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals MORE (R-Utah) on Thursday encouraged an assembly of conservative high school students to seek leadership beyond “owning" liberals.

“Provocation for provocation’s sake will never win you any converts,” Hatch said. “I’ll say it another way: If you are owning the libs just to own the libs, your victory will be short. It will be short-lived and your audience will remain small.

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Hatch was speaking at the High School Leadership Summit hosted by Turning Point USA. His comments echo those from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyTrump: Kellyanne Conway 'must have done some bad things' to 'crazy' husband Trump says Pence will remain on 2020 ticket: 'He's our man 100 percent' Tillerson: Using American aid for 'some kind of personal gain [is] wrong' MORE, who addressed the event on Monday evening.

“I agree with what Nikki Haley said earlier this week on this very stage,” Hatch said. “Real leadership isn’t just about owning libs. It’s about persuasion.”

Hatch said the goal of winning is still available for those who go about their arguments methodically, emphasizing that in order for movements to survive, they need converts.

“Aim high. Focus on a strategic outcome. And make your case leading with real ideas,” he said. “And you’ll find you still have opportunities to own the libs.”

Hatch, who is retiring after this Congress, also used his speaking opportunity to drum up support for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“The fight for Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation is about more than just him,” Hatch said. "It’s about our ideas and everything we stand for. Losing a fight like this means the party of substance-free theatrics wins.”

He slammed Democratic criticism of Kavanaugh, including Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerLGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Harris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates MORE’s (D-N.J.) comment that those who support Kavanaugh are “complicit in the evil.”

After Hatch read the comment out loud, he said he should start expecting “that kind of crap from the Democrats.”

Other speakers on the docket for Thursday at the High School Leadership Summit include two prominent allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE: former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael Spicer'A Warning' replaces Donald Trump Jr.'s 'Triggered' as No.1 book on NYT bestseller list Sarah Sanders defends Trump: He reads 'more than anybody I know' The Hill's Morning Report - Witness transcripts plow ground for public impeachment testimony MORE and former campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiTrump on Harris dropping out of race: 'We will miss you Kamala!' Key takeaways from first public impeachment hearing Democrats face make-or-break moment on impeachment MORE.

This story was updated at 3:02 p.m.