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 HatchTrump holds more Medal of Freedom ceremonies than predecessors but awards fewer medals Trump to award Medal of Freedom to former Attorney General Edwin Meese Trump to award racing legend Roger Penske with Presidential Medal of Freedom 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.


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) HaleyPoll shows Michelle Obama would lead in New Hampshire if she entered 2020 Democratic race Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble Tulsi Gabbard rips Trump's Syria decision: 'Kurds are now paying the price' 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 Booker2020 Democrats recognize Pronouns Day Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seeks distance from Syria crisis 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 TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE: former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerWhite House condemns violent video Trump calls for votes for Spicer on 'Dancing With The Stars' Ex-Trump officials met with Zelensky campaign aides at Trump hotel earlier this year: report MORE and former campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiLewandowski told by Fox Business host he was being 'a little slurry' during interview The Hill's Morning Report - New impeachment battle: Pompeo vs. House Dems Lewandowski: 'Fair' to say Senate run might not happen MORE.

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