DALLAS – Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) should stay in Texas permanently, as he touted the state's COVID-19 approach that conference Chairman Matt Schlapp said was part of the reason he chose to host an extra conference in Dallas.
"We've been the leader," Patrick claimed, on lifting coronavirus-related health restrictions. "In April  I said don't listen to Fauci. I think everyone's now learned not to listen to Fauci… We just had the highest collection of sales taxes in the history of our state two months in a row and we still have one hand tied behind our back with the economy."
CPAC Dallas is a first for the American Conservative Union, the organization that runs the conferences. Usually, CPAC is a once-per-year event. The first this year was in Orlando, Florida. But Chairman Matt Schlapp said that he wanted to recognize Texas as well and decided to do that by bringing a second 2021 conference to Dallas.
"During CPAC Orlando with [Florida] Gov. [Ron] DeSantis' leadership, you know, they opened up Florida," Schlapp told Fox News. "When we got back from CPAC Orlando we said, look, Texas is the next big state, they're open. We should reward them and we should do another big conference. We didn't know how big it would be, but it's going to be a big one."
"There's a re-sorting in America of people who want to have open schools, open churches," Schlapp continued. "People who want to thrive economically without a lot of government help are moving to states like Texas and Florida and South Carolina and other places."
Reacting to those comments, Patrick said CPAC, which is traditionally held in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., should remain in Texas permanently.
"CPAC, we're not only glad they came we hope they stay and move their headquarters here," he said.
Patrick on Friday also addressed the massive migrant surge at the Southern border, which led both former President Donald Trump and Vice President Kamal Harris to visit the state. Asked whether he was satisfied with Harris' recent visit to the border, Patrick said he was not.
"Just the opposite. Disappointed," he said. "Disappointed that she didn't meet with real people. She met mostly with government officials. She didn't talk to our ranchers who are being overrun. She didn't talk to our citizens who are being overrun. Our mayors who are overwhelmed. It was just a campaign stunt -- a publicity stunt, that's all it was."
Harris, after her border visit, emphasized her strategy of putting alleged root causes of border issues like squalor in Central American countries at the forefront of her approach, rather than border security, which Republicans emphasize.
"As you all have heard me say many times, I strongly believe that most people don’t want to leave home. And when they do, it is because either they are fleeing some harm or because to stay means that they cannot provide for the basic necessities of their family," she said from El Paso, Texas. "That belief has been reinforced throughout our day today. Whether it was when I met with children who are unaccompanied minors, or I met with leaders who have been on the ground in El Paso for many, many years doing work that is directly about supporting and interacting with folks who are immigrating to the United States and who are crossing this border."
Patrick also criticized Harris for visiting El Paso rather than McAllen, Texas, alleging that McAllen is where the biggest problems are. "She went to the wrong spot," he said.
The lieutenant governor, who spoke at CPAC Friday, also alleged that Democrats are aiming to bring more migrants into the U.S. in order to solidify their hold on the electorate.
"They're at fault. They want this to happen because they want millions of people to come into America, turn them into citizens, turn them into voters, so they can take over the country," Patrick said. "They're not negligent... They're fine with it the way it is."
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