Phil Robertson, the man infamous for his role on the A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty” and for his controversial comments on gay sex, gave a speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference that was long, bizarre, and at times even a little incoherent.
As Robertson was introduced at CPAC, it was noted that he was the recipient of the 2015 Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award. He then used his First Amendment freedom to speak for nearly half an hour, touching on off-brand topics like sexually transmitted diseases, Nazis, communism, and Jesus.
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At the beginning of his remarks he took out a notebook and a heavily bookmarked Bible, telling “potential candidates” that they should always make sure to “carry your Bible with you and your woman.” He continued, “I”m just saying, safety. Safety!”
Robertson later addressed those in the crowd who may not know who he was referencing: “You [may] say, ‘Who’d you come with? Who are you with?’ I be with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
After the self-described “God-loving, Bible-believing Capitalist” extolled the virtues of Capitalism and quoted both George Washington and John Adams to defend his views on the separation of Church and State, Robertson’s speech really veered off the rails. The abrupt shift in tone began, “I got my facts from the CDC yesterday.” The “Duck Dynasty” patriarch continued, “One hundred and ten million Americans now have a sexually transmitted illness. One hundred and ten million?”
“I don’t want you, America, to get sick,” Robertson said in a calm and slow voice. “I don’t want you to become ill.” His tone beginning to raise, Robertson was shouting as he finished, “I don’t want you to come down with a debilitating disease. I don’t want you to die early!”
He then explained that monogamous sex with a disease-free spouse was the only way a person could stay free of STDs before adding, “What do you call the 110 million people who have sexually transmitted illnesses?”
Answering his own question to applause and laughter, Robertson said, “It’s the revenge of the hippies! Sex, drugs, and rock & roll have come back to haunt us!”
For the record, Robertson’s has his numbers correct. A CDC report from February of 2013 estimated more than 110 million cases of sexually transmitted infections in America with about 20 million new infections each year at a cost of “nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs.”
Twenty minutes into his remarks, Robertson noted he had less than three minutes left – but he said he “wasn’t even finished with [his] introduction.”
In the ten minutes remaining, he noted that the Bible, the Constitution, and weapons are what Americans needed to fend off “the British” and “the Nazis.”
“You may ask, the Nazis?” Robertson asked rhetorically. “There was no Jesus – none. And they were famous for murder, right?”
Using similar language, the reality television star then went on to link Nazis, Shintoists, communists and ISIS, saying each group cares only about “murder” and “territorial conquest.”
“The Shintoists,” he said – Shintoism being an ancient Japanese religion – “began running over China.”
“Was there any Jesus with any of the Shintoists?” he shouted. “Zero … and they were famous for murder just like the Nazis.”
Robertson said the same of communism and Joseph Stalin, before turning to “this ISIS thing and these Muslims.” He continued, “What are they into? Territorial conquest … and murder.”
With no real shift to a conclusion, he ended by saying that for the next two years – referring to the remainder of President Obama’s term in office - Republicans would have to “suck it up” adding, “Until and unless we get spiritual men in the White House to turn [this country] around, we’re going to lose it.”
In his final moment, Robertson said quickly he’d get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency, the IRS, and the federal Department of Education. Just before finally leaving the lectern he concluded, “God help us.”