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 gambles in push for drug import proposal Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify 'Congress' worst tax idea ever'? Hardly. 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) HaleyWill Trump ignore the Constitution and stay in White House beyond his term? Trump taps ex-State spokeswoman Heather Nauert to help oversee White House fellowships Conservatives slam Omar over tweet on Gaza violence 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 BookerGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 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 TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE: former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerProgressive groups targeting Harvard, other universities with ad urging them to not hire Trump officials Celebs unwind at Capitol File WHCD after party Journalists close out WHCD at MSNBC/NBC News after-party MORE and former campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiMichael Caputo eyes congressional bid Clinton lawyer: Mueller's failure to draw conclusion on obstruction a 'massive dereliction' of duty Mueller's facts vs Trump's spin MORE.

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