ForAmerica chairman Brent Bozell is excoriating House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for attending a tropical summit hosted by an organization working to marginalize the Tea Party movement.
“Conservative leaders were stunned to learn that you will be headlining a conference in Florida this weekend that is, purely and simply, a direct attack on Tea Party conservatives,” Bozell wrote to Cantor on Tuesday in a letter obtained exclusively by Breitbart News.
At issue is Cantor’s decision to attend and speak at a conference this weekend on Amelia Island in Northeast Florida. The event is being hosted by “Main Street Advocacy,” a group headed by former Ohio Republican Rep. Steven LaTourette, whom the New York Times described as “one of the top generals in the establishment Republicans’ war against the Tea Party.”
When he served in Congress, LaTourette, a close friend of Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), was also one of the top GOP allies of organized labor, and union groups have contributed funding to the “Main Street Partnership” umbrella group under which the advocacy branch is organized, according to National Journal.
Among other high-profile comments criticizing top conservatives, LaTourette said “I don’t think he is a Republican, to tell you the truth” about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) during debate over raising the debt ceiling without any spending cuts attached.
As such, conservative movement leaders like Bozell are furious that Cantor would attend and speak at the LaTourette-hosted event, with Bozell pointedly asking Cantor why he would attend such an event.
“Worse still, this event is sponsored in part by ultra-liberal financier/activist George Soros and organized labor – both of which have openly, repeatedly – and often viciously – waged war on conservatives and Republicans for years. What has possessed you to headline this event? Do you think so little of conservatives that you would directly insult them by attending?”
A Cantor aide countered the criticism by saying just because Cantor is speaking there does not mean he agrees with the audience on everything. “This is classic judging a speaker by the audience,” the Cantor aide said in an email. “We need to present our conservative solutions to all audiences, and grow our grassroots and our majority so we can stop President Obama’s liberal agenda and prevent Pelosi from becoming Speaker again.”
Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) had planned on attending the event, too, but later backed out due to a scheduling conflict.
RedState’s Erick Erickson reported that Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will also attend, but an aide to McCarthy did not respond to Breitbart News’ request for comment or confirmation of his attendance. Erickson also reported that 25 other House Republicans are scheduled to attend, too, but a list of members is not publicly available.
Bozell called on Cantor, like Boehner, to back out of the event. “We expect no less from you,” Bozell wrote to Cantor. “Attending this event shows you are siding with the Democrat donors, unions, and other Soros-backed groups who have contributed over $1 million to attack conservatives.”
For his part, Cantor has fought aggressively against labor unions during his time in the House. He has opposed card check, fought for school choice and in favor of right to work policies.
Bozell ended his letter to Cantor, which was delivered to the Majority Leader’s office on Tuesday afternoon, with a piece of political advice: “Don’t aid and abet sworn opponents of conservatives.”
“If you do it will cause irreparable damage,” Bozell wrote. “If your position is that grassroots conservatives and Tea Party supporters no longer belong in the Republican Party then it will permanently destroy any credibility you have left with conservatives. Without conservatives the GOP will also collapse. Leader Cantor, back out of this event.”
“I read media reports and they talk about Cantor furiously working for the speakership, and doing a tight-rope act between the two sides of the ideological coin,” Bozell added in a phone interview. “To the degree that that’s true, it should be an insult to both conservatives and liberals because that would tell me that the man stands for nothing and that whatever he’s saying can’t be trusted. Both sides should believe that, if that’s the case. So if the opportunity presents itself for him to present himself as the potential speaker, I’ve got a feeling that this kind of activity is going to lead the rank-and-file conservative base of the Republican Party to reject him. I don’t think it’s smart at all.”
A spokesperson for ForAmerica told Breitbart News that Bozell’s social media operation will be spending at least five figures in digital advertising criticizing Cantor and other Republicans for attending this retreat with LaTourette’s group.