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Conservative firebrand Charlie Kirk gave remarks on immigration, abortion and climate change at Missouri State University on Thursday, having been invited by the student chapter of Turning Point USA.
Kirk, who founded the conservative youth group in 2012, was greeted by a crowd that far exceeded the capacity of the Plaster Student Union Theater.
Mattea Miller, president of MSU’s Turning Point USA chapter, said more than 1,400 people registered for the free event, but the theater reached its fire code occupancy limit after about 580 guests were admitted.
The line to enter the event stretched outside the student center, leaving hundreds to be turned away when capacity was reached. A small group of student protestors also joined the throng, carrying signs that accused Kirk of being a grifter and encouraged him to leave campus.
A surprise guest kicked off the event — Will Scharf, Republican hopeful for the role of Missouri attorney general in 2024. He stressed that his attendance was only in a personal capacity.
Scharf was recently added to former President Donald Trump’s legal team as he assists in Trump’s appeal of a gag order restricting speech about the case concerning the former president’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“If that doesn’t bring home why it’s more important now than ever that conservative activists like us stand up for our constitutional rights, stand up for American values and American principles and get involved with groups like Turning Point USA, I don’t know what does,” Scharf said to a crowd that nearly drowned out his comments with their cheers.
When Kirk took the stage, he commended Scharf’s efforts to defend Trump.
“I’m very, very happy that he’s helping represent our president against that terrible witch hunt,” Kirk said.
Charlie Kirk thinks all immigration should be halted
Taking an immediately antagonistic approach towards the news media, Kirk levied accusations that the media was trying to start World War III when reports circulated that Israel had attacked a hospital in Gaza. Later intelligence reports have suggested that Israel had no involvement, but misinformation continues to swirl in the wake of the attack.
Using this as a segue into his topic for the night, Kirk proposed that immigration to the U.S. should be entirely stopped and any person who hates America or its allies should leave.
“There’s nothing racist or xenophobic about loving the country so much that you don’t want people who hate your country to come into your country,” Kirk said.
Using the example of recent student organizations taking an anti-Israel stance, Kirk floated a question that asked how many sleeper cells might be active in the U.S., based on the support some groups have shown for Hamas after it attacked Israel. He feels that the country should be more selective about who it lets in.
“It drives the left nuts when you say this, that all men are created equal in the eyes of God, all men and women, but not all cultures are created equal,” Kirk said. “To say that, you get attacked in every direction, but excuse me when I say that Western civilization is the best that humanity has produced. It’s an outgrowth of the Bible.”
Using U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar as an example, Kirk contends that the generosity and benevolence shown by the United States when it allowed Omar to emigrate was wasted on her.
“She should be deported,” Kirk said. “She hates the country. She’s a terrorist sympathizer.”
Omar, among other Muslim lawmakers, has been the target of recent death threats, despite her condemnation of the Hamas attacks. Omar emigrated to the U.S. as a child when her family fled civil war in Somalia.
Despite Kirk’s proclaimed support for Israel, he feels that U.S. lawmakers should focus on securing the Mexican border rather than sending aid to foreign countries.
“The fact that our leaders in both parties are more focused on what’s happening in Ukraine than our southern border is a moral disgrace in our country,” Kirk said.
Kirk said that 2.5 to 3 million illegal immigrants are “invading” the U.S. every year, and that the country is “giving away 1.2 to 1.5 million green cards and family chain migration citizenship on top of that.”
NBC News reported 2.76 million crossings stopped by Customs and Border Protection in 2022, although many of the people crossing had been returned to Mexico before attempting to cross again. This means that the crossings don’t necessarily equal the number of people who entered the country.
In 2021, the U.S. issued around 740,000 green cards. The current wait to receive a green card is anywhere between a year and 20 months. The process is quite costly, as just the government filing fees average around $1,700, and most applicants require the help of an attorney, which can add thousands of dollars in expense.
In 2021, over 107,000 Mexican citizens received a green card, followed by more than 93,000 from India, and nearly 50,000 from China.
Additionally, U.S. immigration law restricts the issuance of an abundance of some green cards to people originating from one specific country. For employment-based green cards, only 140,000 are issued per year and only 7% are allotted per country.
Kirk went on to point out that about 22% of U.S. households speak a language other than English at home. While true, Kirk neglected to mention the additional statistic in the U.S. Census report that only 8% of people speak English “less than very well.”
For households that share a common native language other than English, it is natural to speak their native tongue in private, but it does not mean that these households don’t speak any English.
“When 22% of the country does not want to learn the language, you know, what really upsets me about this is that the Irish and the Polish that came here 100 years ago, they made it a priority in their communities to learn English,” Kirk said.
Looking back at American history, Kirk insists that America is a nation of settlers, rather than a nation of immigrants, because immigrating implies that there was a civilization to assimilate into when people arrived.
“There was not exactly a lot of civilization when the first people came to Missouri,” Kirk said. “Is that an immigrant or a settler? It’s more of a settling. It’s a mindset of going to the frontier, using the Homestead Act to get the land that you can see.”
While many people did settle land throughout the country when they first arrived, Kirk’s comments seem to discount the sovereignty of the Native American cultures that had flourished for generations before settlers, assisted by the U.S. government, massacred or displaced those indigenous peoples.
Climate change is a hoax, according to Kirk
When Kirk opened the floor to questions, more than 30 people filled the aisle hoping to get a chance to seek his insight. Some college students trolled Kirk with nonsensical questions and arguments involving former President Obama’s ethnicity, abortion and gender rights.
Other adult attendees asked Kirk for advice on personal struggles that they faced. Some students sought Kirk’s advice on how to combat ridicule for identifying as a young conservative or Christian.
Kirk dispelled any thoughts that he would be interested in running for president, if he was old enough. Kirk is 30 years old, but the U.S. president must be at least 35. He personally supports Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential race, but emphasized that his support is not the official position of Turning Point USA.
Many people asked Kirk about his stance on abortion, to which he held strong to his convictions that life begins at conception and abortion should be prohibited.
However, when Kirk was asked how conservatives can find some common ground about addressing climate change, it sparked a bit of debate. Kirk turned the question back around on the student, asking him to define climate change and carbon emissions, and how the two are related.
After answering these, Kirk wanted to confirm that the student trusted the consensus of scientific reports and would take the researchers’ word that they were right.
“I’m unbelievably skeptical when I hear scientists say, especially after I had to hear that a vaccine is safe and effective, and closing down schools and putting masks on kids was a good answer. But let’s pretend you’re right. Okay, let’s pretend that climate change is an existential threat,” Kirk said.
He then asked the student, who said he had studied architecture for four years at MSU, how he would solve the climate change issue. Kirk disputed that phasing out fossil fuels would help, and was skeptical of the fact that humans have anything to do with rising temperatures.
“If you’re wrong, then we might try to find a solution that actually might be more about private property confiscation, and wealth deterioration, aka Marxism, not actually solving the problem,” Kirk said.
Kirk scoffed at the idea that the U.S. should transition away from fossil fuels and vehicles, and felt that developing more walkable cities was synonymous with taking away our freedom.
“Without a vehicle, you are a captive of the government in an open air prison,” Kirk said.
Kirk concluded by asserting that there were bigger problems that should be solved before deciding whether climate change was a real threat.
“With all of the pressing challenges that face humanity, like the most suicidal generation in history, the most drug-addicted generation history, the most alcohol-addicted generation in history, the fixation on an abstraction of rising global temperatures is an academic distraction from real material suffering,” Kirk said.
Attendees were given discount codes and encouraged to register for Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest event in Arizona in December. It will feature Missouri’s U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, Mike Lindell and other conservative speakers.