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 HatchNY's political prosecution of Manafort should scare us all Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders The FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate 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) Haley40 years of Iranian threats against Israel and few pay any attention Nikki Haley endorses term limits for Congress Pelosi: Kim 'big winner' of North Korea talks 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 BookerCNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina O'Rourke sees 'a lot of wisdom' in abolishing Electoral College Gillibrand: Aide who claimed sexual harassment was 'believed' 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 TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE: former White House press secretary Sean SpicerSean Michael SpicerThe five Trump communications directors who have come and gone New York state officials subpoena Trump Org's longtime insurance broker The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump fires back at new Dem probe MORE and former campaign manager Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiCNN's Chris Cuomo knocks 'state TV' Fox News T-Mobile says it increased Trump hotel spending after Sprint merger announcement The 81 names targeted in Democrats' expansive Trump probe MORE.

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