Hundreds of young conservatives were barred from attending TPUSA’s SAS conference in West Palm Beach, Florida on Saturday night due to COVID restrictions.
Young conservatives from across the country were ready to attend the annual Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida. The three-day agenda featured speeches from Congressman Matt Gaetz, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Trump’s attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump Jr.
Participants who arrived at the TPUSA conference early were able to enter, however, some participants then started receiving text messages from pranksters claiming to be TPUSA, saying “Due to covid restrictions, you were not signed up for SAS. ” This created confusion among the participants, who believed that TPUSA themselves were making the decision to shut them down.
At the time of writing, National File understands that the edict was not issued by TPUSA themselves, but either by Keith James, the mayor of West Palm Beach, or by Verdenia Baker, the administrator of the Palm Beach County, which decided to limit the number of people. inside much less than thousands the event typically attracts each year.
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The Blaze’s Elijah Schaffer televised the angry crowds outside SAS live. A participant told National File that the waiting crowds were stretching to a second building, and noted that some people had claimed that health officials and police were directing people away from the event.
Some attendees who were denied entry decided to march on City Hall to protest COVID regulations.
Although the West Palm Beach mayor’s office is officially a non-partisan position, James is a Democrat. He endorsed former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg as president and campaigned with Joe Biden’s wife Jill Biden in July.
“Left-wing local government officials are doing all they can to shut down operations and destroy our economy in Florida,” Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini told National File. Sabatini, who will attend the conference on Saturday, said he plans to table a law next month to “stop their destruction and their gambling.”
Update: The original story noted that TPUSA sent some participants a text message claiming that they were not registered. However, Schaffer later tweeted that he spoke to pranksters who sent the “scam” text messages, and noted that they were “scared” to come forward and admit the joke after she made the headlines. “TPUSA is not preventing anyone from entering,” he confirmed.
Update: TPUSA brought speakers to the crowd outside, including Donald Trump Jr, allowing participants stranded to enter to listen to them. Tyler Bower, COO of TPUSA, said the organization “is doing all we can humanely to make it accessible to everyone”.
Update: According to a statement attributed to the Palm Beach County Administrator, the place agreed to allow 2000 people inside. Many more attendees arrived and registered and paid the fare the same day, according to sources close to TPUSA. Although the county administrator’s potential role in limiting crowd size is unknown, a local reporter appeared to indicate he was behind the decision.
However, National File includes conference attendees that the center appeared empty, with attendees doubting the maximum of 2,000 people had been reached. One participant described the crowd allowed to enter the building as “sparse”. Public records also show that the PBC convention center where the event takes place has a maximum capacity of 6,500 people.
Some participants called the crackdown illogical and capricious, while another observer pointed out that the crowd outside “defeated the goal” and “made the county absurd”. National File has contacted the mayor’s office and county administrators for clarification on each of their roles in the restrictions.
Update: In a tweet, Bowyer said there was no capacity requirement in the original contract signed by TPUSA. According to Bowyer, the current Palm Beach County restrictions would require a 50% capacity level, however, the convention center has current “beyond” requirements for the venue.
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