Charlie Kirk

Charlie Kirk

Credentials

Profile image by Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Background

Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a youth conservative activist organization with the mission “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”2Meet the Founder,” Turning Point USA. Archived March 8, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/7KWfr

When he was 18 years old, Charlie Kirk launched TPUSA with the guidance of William Montgomery3The 21-Year-Old Becoming a Major Player in Conservative Politics,” The Atlantic, March 2015. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/rGJ34 and seed funding4Julie Bykowicz. “This Boy Wonder Is Building the Conservative MoveOn.org in an Illinois Garage,” Bloomberg, May 7, 2015. from Foster Friess, a conservative donor with ties to the Koch brothers.5Gavin Aronsen.”Exclusive: The Koch Brothers’ Million-Dollar Donor Club,” Mother Jones, September 6, 2011. Archived February 26, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/0SgQo TPUSA now claims a presence on over 1,000 college campus and high schools across the country, and label themselves the largest and fastest growing youth organization in America.

According to his profile at TPUSA, Kirk has appeared on Fox News, CNBC, and FOX Business News over 200 times. He is the author of Time for a Turning Point, a book that he has promoted through the Heartland Institute.6Meet the Founder,” Turning Point USA. Archived March 8, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/7KWfr

Charlie Kirk is a regular speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Fossil Fuel Funding

Charlie Kirk has admitted to soliciting funds from the fossil fuel industry. He acknowleded in an interview that some donors of TPUSA “are in the fossil-fuel space.”7Jane Meyer. “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity,” The New Yorker, December 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/npnGL He was a speaker at the 2017 board meeting of the National Mining Association (NMA) and the 2016 annual meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). The CEO and president of the IPAA, Barry Russell, is on the advisory council of TPUSA. Kirk has stated that most advisory council members contribute monetary support to the organization. A full list of TPUSA advisory council members can be found on their website.8Advisory Council,” Turning Point USA. Archived February 28, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/pQj6D

TPUSA has helped organize opposition to student campaigns pressuring universities to divest from fossil fuels. In an interview with the The New Yorker, Kirk said, “We think targeting fossil fuels is rather unfair, and it is not really in the best interests of the universities to favor one type of political agenda over another.”9Jane Meyer. “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity,” The New Yorker, December 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/npnGL

Trump Administration

Charlie Kirk’s father, Robert W. Kirk, was the project architect manager for Trump Tower in New York. Charlie Kirk volunteered for Donald Trump’s Trump’s presidential campaign, devoting two months during the election cycle.10Principal: Robert W. Kirk, AIA,” Group A Architects. Archived February 27, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/22BcR Kirk has consistently praised Trump, his family, and the Trump Administration in social media and in news outlets like Fox News.11”.@charliekirk11: “You look at what the president has accomplished over the last year, it’s absolutely unprecedented,” Twitter post by @FoxNews, January 7, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. He also appeared along alongside the presidential family on the Hannity show.12Charlie Kirk Joins the Trump Family on Hannity,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Turning Point USA,” January 29, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

TPUSA advisory board members Gentry Beach13Gentry Beach,Turning Point USA. Archived February 28, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ec9f8 and Thomas Hicks, Jr.14Thomas O. Kicks, Jr.Turning Point USA. Archived February 28, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/lc3gD raised millions of dollars for Donald Trump as national vice chairman of his presidential campaign.15Cheryl Hall. “How two Dallas young guns helped deliver the White House to Trump,” Dallas News, November 11, 2016. Archived February 28, 2018. Archive .is URL: https://archive.is/ZSQHG The two also worked with Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to sell access to Donald Trump to wealthy donors during the 2017 inauguration.16HOW A TRUMPED-UP FUNDRAISER WITH THE FIRST FAMILY IMPLODED,” The Center for Public Integrity, December 21, 2016. Advisory board member Jon D. Willis also helped fundraise money for the Trump Presidential Campaign.17John D. Willis,” Turning Point USA. Archived February 28, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/rs1kN Beach is reportedly godfather to one of Donald Trump Jr.’s children.18Carrie Levine. “How a trumped-up fundraiser with the first family imploded,” The Center for Public Integrity, December 21, 2016. Archived February 28, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/Ddf3G

In December 2017, Trump tweeted his thanks to Kirk for praising his performance as President:

Kirk spent New Years Eve 2017 at Mar-a-lago with President Trump:

Charlie Kirk and Trump January 30th, 2018:

Stance on Climate Change

June 4, 2017

On Twitter, Kirk described the Paris Climate Treaty as “A BAD Deal for America!”

Comments Surrounding 2021 Capitol Insurrection

Charlie Kirk was among dozens of the individuals and organizations profiled in DeSmog’s Disinformation Database who posted online or gave interviews about the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection. Some posted claims of election fraud, similar to those that drove the Stop the Steal rally on Jan. 6. Some circulated dubious information about the insurrection itself. DeSmog has preserved a selection of notable posts related to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, including some that were later deleted or removed. Kirk published and later deleted multiple tweets related to the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021 and the “Stop the Steal” event.

The founder of Turning Point USA, Charlie Kirk, said in a since-deleted tweet that Turning Point’s political action arm and an affiliated group, Students for Trump, were sending more than 80 ‘buses of patriots to D.C. to fight for the president’ on Jan. 6,” The New York Times reported. “While 80 buses was the number that Turning Point Action had committed to funding, Mr. Kirk’s tweet was ‘ultimately inaccurate’ as the groups ended up sending just seven buses from New Jersey, North Carolina, and other locations, according to a spokesman for Turning Point.”19Linda Qiu. “No, there is not evidence that Ginni Thomas paid for buses to bring people to the Capitol siege,” The New York Times, January 11, 2021. Archived February 12, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/F7liv

Below is another deleted tweet from Jan 6, 2021:

@realCharlieKirk also posted this encouragement to “hold the line, Patriots” on Gab on Jan. 11:

Kirk also posted the following message on Twitter during the early morning hours of Jan. 7, 2021, in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol insurrection:

Key Quotes

February 22, 2018

At the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2018, Kirk stated while on a panel:20CPAC 2018 Live Stream Day 1,” YouTube video uploaded by user “American Conservative Union,” February 22, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

College campus have become a place where they want everyone to look different but think the same. Let me say that again, they want college campus to be a place where everyone looks different but thinks the same. And their idea of diversity is skin color and ethnic diversity which is fine there is nothing necessarily wrong with that but that’s easy.

It’s the intellectual ideological diversity, thats where maturity happens, that’s where you have to hear things that challenge your view point. And when you have an education system that is so dominated by neo-marxists and post-modernists you have a whole education system that is just spinning out leftist automatons that have no capacity to think. We as conservatives- the left has feelings. We have history and logic and perspective and understanding of where our ideas come from and that’s really at the core of the issue.”

The story of western civilization is overcoming victimhood. It’s I might suffer but I can make good choices to overcome my bad circumstances. The left wants the exact opposite. It’soh you might have had something bad happen to you a hundred years ago therefore heres all these government benefits and people should feel sorry for you’.”  (Emphasis added).

February 8, 2018

Charlie Kirk asserted, “white privilege is a myth and lie and should be completely destroyed. It’s rooted in racism. It is a racist idea. It is a racist idea. Why don’t they ever talk about Asian-American privilege? […]”21Charlie Kirk: The ‘White Privilege’ Label Is Racist,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Turning Point USA,” February 8, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

December 2017

In his interview with The New Yorker, Kirk said:22Jane Meyer. “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity,” The New Yorker, December 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/npnGL

We think targeting fossil fuels is rather unfair, and it is not really in the best interests of the universities to favor one type of political agenda over another.”

December 2016

Kirk wrote the foreword to a TPUSA publication titled “10 Ways Fossil Fuels Improve Our Daily Lives”:23“10 Ways Fossil Fuels Improve Our Daily Lives” (PDF), Turning Point USA, December 2016.

“Students are indoctrinated to believe the myth that fossil fuels are dirty and renewable energy is a plausible alternative,” Kirk wrote.

September 8, 2015

At a speaking event for young conservatives, Kirk said he didn’t get accepted to his first choice university, West Point, because “I eventually lost my spot to what I felt was a far less qualified applicant in my district that was of a different gender and persuasion.”24Charlie Kirk ~ The Conservative Forum ~ 9-8-2015,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Liberty Forum,” September 9, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Key Deeds

September 2021

As reported at The Guardian, a leaked document of the membership of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP) showed that TPUSA’s Charlie Kirk had become a member.25Jason Wilson. “Top Republicans rub shoulders with extremists in secretive rightwing group, leak reveals,” The Guardian, September 30, 2021. Archived October 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/6roqk

The group’s membership includes a mix of “Conservative movement heavyweights” like Lisa B Nelson, Chief Executive of the American Legislative Exchange Council; Eugene Mayer, president of the Federalist Society; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Daniel Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, among others.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes the CNP as “a highly secretive group, is a key venue where mainstream conservatives and extremists mix.”26The Council for National Policy: Behind the Curtain,” Southern Poverty Law Center, May 17, 2016. Archived October 5, 2021. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/woeqy

“Other members of the group represent organizations that operate under a veil of secrecy, with conservative ‘dark money’ organizations well represented,” The Guardian noted, with examples including Lawson Bader of Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund and Richard Graber of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

March 22, 2018

Charlie Kirk interviewed President Donald Trump in the “Generation Next” White House Summit:27President Donald Trump Participates In ‘Generation Next’ White House Summit | NBC News,” YouTube video streamed live March 22, 2018. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Kirk Tweeted:

Partial transcript:

Charlie Kirk: “One of the things you’ve done so successfully during your campaign and presidency is crush political correctness, and what the college network that we represent—I represent a network on 1200 college campuses—is, it’s harder than ever to espouse support of your presidency and the ideas that you’re fighting for.

So thank you for what you’re doing to give us the courage of our convictions to fight against political correctness. But what advice do you have for young patriots and Conservatives on campus that support your agenda but are being ridiculed and silenced because of administrators that clamps own one see speech?”

Trump: “So that’s a great question. I think the numbers are actually much different than people think. I think we have a lot of support. If they have one campus or two campuses and we know what they are it gets all the publicity. We have campuses where you have a vast majority of people that are perhaps like many of the people in this room: You could call it Conservative, you could call it whatever you want, but they’re people that want free speech.

If you look at what’s going on with free speech, with the super left, with ANTIFA, with all of these characters. I’ll tell you what, they get a lot of publicity, but you go to the real campuses and you go all over the country, you go out to the real campus and you go all over the country… you go out to the Middle West you go out to even to the coast in many cases. We have tremendous support. I would say we have majority support. I think it’s highly overblown. Highly overblown.”

Kirk: “I totally agree, and we see it on the ground. And so people say, hey I’m a Trump supporter, I’m just not allowed to say it because of the culture that’s been created by the administrators and the professors.

And kind of piggybacking off of that, what you see on college campuses and the speakers being disinvited and you know the assault on these ideas, I think it’s so important what your administration is doing for the Department of Justice to support these lawsuits to help advance, you know, this free speech movement on campus.

So, kind of talking generationally in general, this is something I’m quite curious about and lot of people ask me: I consider you to be one of the most successful businesspeople in American history and your successful presidential run is something that all people, young people included, should look up to. What advice would you give to the 25-year-old Donald Trump knowing what you know today?

Trump: “Don’t run for president.” Laughter and applause.

Kirk: “But we’re glad you did.”

Trump:“Well, I was talking to Mercedes and Sarah walking off for just a… you know the Oval Office is right across the street… and I said, all my life I’ve gotten really—you know look, every one in a while we all get a knock—but I got the greatest publicity. I was getting such great… until I ran for office. And it’s been… but people get it. People really do get it. [12:07]

There is a lot of fake news out there. Nobody had any idea, and I’m actually proud of the fact I exposed it to a large extent because we exposed it. That’s something… that’s an achievement.” […]

February 22, 2018

Charlie Kirk was a speaker at the 2018 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).282018 CPAC Speakers,” American Conservative Union CPAC. Archived March 15, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ULfaJ

November 16–19, 2017

Kirk spoke at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s “Restoration Weekend” in 2017. The Southern Poverty Law Center has described the Freedom Center as “the premier financier of anti-Muslim voices and radical ideologies.”29Charlie Kirk on Taking on the Campus Left,” FrontpageMag, December 6, 2017. Archived March 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/0xlVt 30DAVID HOROWITZ,” Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived March 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5G8V4

In his speech, Kirk described the David Horowitz Foundation as a “cornerstone of the growth of Turning Point U.S.A.” He also thanked “so many amazing supporters in this room that have made it possible.” He personally thanked David Horowitz saying, “I can’t thank you enough for your mentorship and guidance and advice throughout the years, so thank you.”31Charlie Kirk on Taking on the Campus Left,” FrontpageMag, December 6, 2017. Archived March 5, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/0xlVt

At the same event in 2015, Charlie stated, “I can honestly say that our success now as an organization – we have over 61 full-time staff, 53 in the field – is large in part because of the embracing of Horowitz Freedom Center attendees, staff and Mike Finch.”

October 3–4, 2017

The New Yorker reported that Charlie Kirk attended the 2017 board meeting of the National Mining Association (NMA).32Jane Meyer. “A Conservative Nonprofit That Seeks to Transform College Campuses Faces Allegations of Racial Bias and Illegal Campaign Activity,” The New Yorker, December 21, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/npnGL According to The Intercept,33Lee Fang and Nick Surgey. “AFTER MASSIVE GIVEAWAYS TO INDUSTRY, MINING EXECUTIVES WILL SPEND BIG AT TRUMP’S D.C. HOTEL,” The Intercept, September 14, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/crPMu and E&E News, the meeting was scheduled to take place at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. and featured some of the largest coal and mining companies in the country.34Lee Fang and Nick Surgey. “AFTER MASSIVE GIVEAWAYS TO INDUSTRY, MINING EXECUTIVES WILL SPEND BIG AT TRUMP’S D.C. HOTEL,” The Intercept, September 14, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/crPMu 35Dylan Brown. “NMA to host board meeting at Trump hotel — report,” E&E News, September 15, 2017.

Rooms for the days scheduled cost approximately $800 per night. Election law expert Brendan Fischer commented that, because Trump had refused to divest from the Trump Organization, “money spent at the president’s D.C. hotel will make it into the president’s pocket.”36Lee Fang and Nick Surgey. “AFTER MASSIVE GIVEAWAYS TO INDUSTRY, MINING EXECUTIVES WILL SPEND BIG AT TRUMP’S D.C. HOTEL,” The Intercept, September 14, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/crPMu

The National Mining Association or any other lobbying group has likely concluded that spending money at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. is a solid way of currying favor with the administration — and that spending money anywhere else runs the risk of offending our very sensitive president,” he added.37Lee Fang and Nick Surgey. “AFTER MASSIVE GIVEAWAYS TO INDUSTRY, MINING EXECUTIVES WILL SPEND BIG AT TRUMP’S D.C. HOTEL,” The Intercept, September 14, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/crPMu

According to the event invitation, “The evening reception on the rooftop will be the first reception since the 2016 elections and will provide an excellent opportunity to meet the new members of Congress, build on our relationships, and share our perspectives with our guests from Congress and federal agencies.” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was scheduled to speak at the event.

February 2017

Kirk was a speaker382017 CPAC Speakers,” American Conservative Union CPAC. Archived July 7, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/MWZHd at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). TPUSA was also on site with a recruitment effort that included about 100 students.39TPUSA at CPAC 2017,” YouTube video uploaded by user “Turning Point USA,” March 3, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

February 13, 2017

Kirk appeared with Brent Hamachek, his co-author of Time for a Turning Point, on the Heartland Institute’s daily podcast. Kirk and Hamachek talked about Turning Point USA, Donald Trump’s election, and “the appalling lack of knowledge in that generation about the murderous history of global communism” among other subjects.40Jim Lakely. “CHARLIE KIRK AND BRENT HAMACHEK: TIME FOR A TURNING POINT,” Heartland Institute, February 13, 2017. Archived March 3, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/6AEzU

Kirk and Hamachek were also featured in a February 8 Heartland special event and book signing, billed as “two men on the front lines of the battle against leftist indoctrination of the Millennial Generation.” See video of the event below.41CHARLIE KIRK: TIME FOR A TURNING POINT,” Heartland Institute, February 8, 2017. Archived January 26, 2017. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/4d1pp 42Charlie Kirk & Brent Hamachek: Time for a Turning Point,” YouTube video uploaded by user “The Heartland Institute,” February 8, 2017.

March 2016

Kirk was a speaker at CPAC 2016.43CPAC Speakers,” Conservative Political Action Conference. Archived March 8, 2016. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/uKMal

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