PHILADELPHIA — Rising political group Moms For Liberty prepared to wrap up its national summit Saturday by hearing from long-term Republican presidential candidates and preparing to be active in the 2024 campaign.
The relatively new organization, founded in early 2021, raised its profile over the weekend by attracting 2024 Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and big GOP challengers Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley.
Moms For Liberty also heard from Republican candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy on Saturday, who touted his speech, tweeting that “parents know what’s best for their kids, not the government.”
The Southern Poverty Legal Center described Moms For Liberty as anti-government extremists who “use their multiple social media platforms to target teachers and school officials” and “spread hateful images and rhetoric against the LGBTQ community”.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told members, “I think Moms For Liberty should have a voice.” The organization has made a political name for itself by pushing for “parental rights” in education.
More candidates, more protesters
The Philadelphia conference also drew protesters who demonstrated outside a downtown hotel for two days. They denounced Moms for Liberty for allegedly seeking to eliminate black studies curricula and discriminating against transgender athletes.
“Stand up for trans youth,” read one sign. Another said “Preserve black history”.
Members of Moms For Liberty and presidential candidates who spoke to them said they represented parents who were ignored by school officials over controversial “wake-up” issues in schools.
“Don’t play with American moms,” Trump told the group, while DeSantis hailed “bear moms” as a new life force in American politics.
They and Haley echoed Moms For Liberty’s issues, decrying elements such as ‘critical race theory’ and ‘gender ideology’ and praising efforts to ‘keep men out of women’s sports. “.
In his speech, Trump also vilified prosecutors for indictments and investigations.
“Make It Rain”
In addition to presidential candidates, Moms For Liberty delegates also listened to panels and “strategy sessions” devoted to both politics and the politics of 2024.
A program was devoted to “the protection of children against gender ideology”. Another session was called “Making It Rain: Fundraising Tips and Tricks”.
Moms For Liberty has helped supporters in offices across the country, especially in school boards. One of their most high-profile hits came near Philadelphia, in suburban Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The conference ends on Sunday with a “Blessings of Liberty Breakfast”.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Moms for Liberty Hears from GOP Presidential Candidates