GOP candidates attend RedState Gathering
The blog RedState is a place where impassioned conservatives can gather online year-round. But for three days a year, it also hosts its in-person “RedState Gathering” in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nearly a million people frequent the RedState blog every month, and roughly 700 of its fans came out to Atlanta’s Buckhead InterContinental Hotel for the meet-up this weekend, according to the Washington Post.
Nine of the GOP’s presidential candidates spoke before the conference, including social conservative insurgents like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and establishment favorites like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
The party’s current presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, was originally scheduled to keynote the conference, with a two-hour speech on Saturday night. But on Friday, RedState’s chief editor Erick Erickson disinvited Trump, saying that his criticisms of Fox News host and primary debate moderator Megyn Kelly crossed “a line of decency”
Trump had criticized Kelly’s aggressive and “unfair” questioning during Thursday night’s debate, telling CNN, “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.”
Erickson, like many other observers, interpreted “blood coming out of wherever” to be a dog-whistle reference to menstruation.
A commitment to inoffensive rhetoric has not traditionally been a hallmark of RedState or its editor, and many of those at the gathering objected to the rescinding of Trump’s invitation. In the past, Erickson has referred to First Lady Michelle Obama as a “marxist harpy,” and Supreme Court Justice David Souter as a “goat f-ing child molester.