Dinesh D’ Souza, who was pardoned by President Donald Trump in 2018 for an illegal campaign contribution, was brought to campus by Chapman Republicans
Walking through the Attallah Piazza, Remi Le Bel, a junior sociology major, saw a tabling for Chapman Republicans who were set to host Dinesh D’Souza later that afternoon. Le Bel was curious to know more about the famous conservative political commentator and filmmaker, so she used what many people use when looking things up, Google. What she found was full of “sadness.”
“I was very taken aback and shocked this man was coming to campus,” Le Bel said. “He made jokes about really serious and horrific things happening in our society.”
With a few questions crafted, Le Bel made her way to the Sandhu Conference Center on the evening of Dec. 3 wearing a rainbow bracelets and a graphic T-shirt with an edited image of Barack Obama giving President Donald Trump the middle finger, hoping to hear what D’Souza had to say. But Le Bel was not able to do that. As she made her way up to the event, a security officer asked if she was for or against D’ Souza’s ideologies. She shared that she was against most the things D’Souza has said.
“He asked me to please not ask any questions and I told him I could not promise him that,” Le Bel said. After a minute of stares, whisperings and disapproving looks, the officer told Le Bel it “was not a good idea for her to be there.”
Le Bel did not want to disrespect the event and those attending. She complied with the officer’s request but was disappointed she could not hear or question D’Souza. “Trump 2020! Trump 2020!” was shouted as D’Souza came forward to speak. Around 300 people gathered in the conference center anxiously waiting for his arrival. The event was hosted by Chapman Republicans with the help of Young America’s Foundation, an organization focused on educating college students on conservative ideals. D’ Souza was picked was because he was funny, “kinda out there” and interesting, said Taylor Duncker, president of Chapman Republicans.
The club’s members were excited after hearing D’ Souza would be on campus, Duncker said.
“We watched clips of his movies,” Duncker said. “This year alone, we brought Larry Elder, Chapman brought Ben Shapiro and George W. Bush and then we brought Dinesh D’Souza. It was like boom, boom, boom. Huge conservative names and we wanted the fire rolling.”
The focus of D’Souza’s discussion was “The Failures of Socialism,” followed by a Q&A with topics ranging from fake news and sanctuary cities to Trump’s successes and failures.
D’Souza spoke on the failures of socialism, using North Korea and Venezuela as examples.
“We have North and South Korea. North Korea is socialist and South Korea is capitalist; look at the result,” D’Souza said. “South Korea is 50 times richer than North Korea; people in South Korea live for 10 years longer.”
D’Souza also gave counter arguments for socialism and its global practices. He posed arguments for socialism from a leftist perspective, saying that capitalism is not effective anymore and that socialism has been successful in the Scandinavia region.
“It does work in the land where everyone is named Sven,” D’Souza joked.
Scandinavian socialism was one of the most interesting topics of conversation for many audience members.
“I didn’t know what was going on over there,” said Tyler Elder, a sophomore business administration major, who attended the event.
It appeared many audience members found D’Souza charismatic, as laugh after laugh could be heard out the door during the discussion.
“I like him more; I had never heard him speak before,” Elder said. “He was clear in his message, confident and seemed down to earth.”
D’Souza also spoke about the “socialist gang,” a group of four Congresswomen who have been vocal during their short time in office.
“We have A.O.C. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez),” said D’Souza, which led to a negative reaction from the crowd.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was also mentioned as part of the “socialist gang,” along with democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“A more intriguing character; a little bit more of a global figure,” D’Souza said when speaking of Omar. “A.O.C. is not really a global figure; A.O.C. is basically a bartender,” he continued.
At the end of the discussion, D’Souza warned against socialism and the chances of losing the liberty “to live our lives.”
“We are in a big fight with a rather unusual leader of the anti-socialist movement: Trump,” D’Souza said.
At the beginning of the Q&A, D’Souza asked audience members who are critical of him to come up to the front and ask questions, as it would make the discussion more interesting. But those who posed questions were largely in favor of D’Souza’s talking points.
Thomas Roche, a member of Chapman Republicans and former president of the club, asked D’Souza about fake news and how to fight back.
“The very best way to fight back is to create your own alternative news outlets,” D’Souza said, as an interruption of cheers and clapping came from the audience. “Option two: learn to decode what you see in the media.”
Another student asked about sanctuary cities, which D’Souza responded saying there is a problem with its symbol of lawlessness. Trump’s failures and successes was also a topic in the Q&A.
Trump’s greatest success is his “unquenchable bravery” and his greatest failure was not firing former Director of the FBI James Comey on day one as “he unleashed the Mueller Report,” D’Souza said.
“Trump has not had control of his own justice department for three out of his four years,” he concluded.
D’Souza told the audience that he is committed to using his energy and creativity for a film set to come out next year titled, “United States of Socialism.”