The chairman of the Conservative Political Action Coalition slammed “the left’s war on gender” following backlash over his tweet about a biologically male swimmer at the center of controversy over the integrity of women’s sports.
“No matter what one thinks of Lia’s ability to swim with women her story deserves our compassion,” tweeted CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp Monday evening, referring to a New York Post story about transgender swimmer Lia Thomas. “It will be interesting to hear Lia’s pov in 30 years.”
The CPAC chairman’s tweet was quickly criticized by conservatives like pro-life activist Abby Johnson, “Relatable” podcast host Allie Beth Stuckey, the American Conservative senior editor Rod Dreher, and National Pulse editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam.
In a Tuesday afternoon statement, Schlapp promised that CPAC believes in “fiercely defending girls and women’s sports at every level, including in state legislative chambers.”
“The left’s war on gender must be confronted and CPAC will continue to do just that,” the statement said. “And we will continue to demonstrate decency to all those involved.”
His use of the pronoun “her” was “not an intentional statement one way or the other,” Schlapp said in a late afternoon phone interview with The Daily Wire.
“I was just responding quickly in a tweet,” he said.
“I just believe quite clearly that you can have operations to change your physical appearance but you can’t change your gender,” he told The Daily Wire. “There’s no way to change it. And that should determine your status on gender questions like what sport you compete in.”
The CPAC chairman emphasized that there are “folks that are waging this war on gender are trying to force people into using pronouns so that they can open up their legal status to compete against women,” saying that “we have to fight that aggressively.”
“And I would just say CPAC is the lone group that scores these issues, not only in every state legislative chamber but nationwide, I think it’s something like 8,000 ratings and we score all of these attempts to take this war on gender and turn it into a new set of victims, in this case, girls and women competing in sports,” he said.
CPAC is led by the American Conservative Union, the nation’s oldest conservative grassroots organization. The 2022 conference took place in Orlando, Florida where speakers expounded on the event’s theme “Awake, not Woke.”
Schlapp told The Daily Signal during a CPAC interview that Republicans only recently began leaning into the culture wars because “they got used to failing and it makes them nervous.”
In a separate interview with The Washington Examiner, Schlapp commented on recent cultural attacks, saying, “Parents aren’t domestic terrorists. Cops aren’t the force of evil. They actually keep us safe … Gender confusion, girl sports, you can go on and on and on.”
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