D’Souza explains ‘insensitive’ tweets, views on tolerance and what he’ll discuss during his east Idaho visit

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CLICK ABOVE TO LISTEN AN EXTENDED INTERVIEW BETWEEN NATE EATON AND DINESH D’SOUZA.

IDAHO FALLS — Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza will headline the Bonneville County Republican Party’s 2018 Lincoln Day Dinner April 14 despite controversy over statements he recently made on social media.

The author and filmmaker came under fire several weeks ago for posting a tweet that mocked student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

After Florida’s House voted against opening a debate on legislation to ban the sale of assault weapons, an Associated Press photo was posted on Twitter showing the reaction of survivors from the school.

“Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs,” D’Souza wrote on Feb. 20 to his 800,000 followers.

D’Souza apologized the next day and said his tweet was “insensitive.”

In a phone interview with EastIdahoNews.com Friday, D’Souza further clarified that he posted the tweet “in the heat of the moment” and emotionally responded to the situation.

“I was sort of getting frustrated at the way students in Parkland seemed to be becoming or being made pawns of a political agenda,” D’Souza says. “My arrow was wrongly aimed because I was trying to aim at the media manipulation of it. I ended up firing an arrow at the students, and I felt terrible.”

Following the apology, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) removed D’Souza’s biography from their archive of speakers. D’Souza was not scheduled to speak at the event this year and says despite the controversy, he’s on good terms with CPAC.

“I think CPAC started getting a bunch of calls and thought, ‘We don’t want to be debating Dinesh’s speech and we want the focus to be on CPAC,'” D’Souza says. “There’s no repudiation (from CPAC). The left has been trying to get a repudiation — they’ve been calling a lot of people who are sponsoring my speeches to get people to denounce me or cancel speeches, but none of that has occurred.”

Bryan Smith, Bonneville County GOP first vice chair, confirms to EastIdahoNews.com that his organization has received some pressure to cancel D’Souza’s speaking engagement.

“We’ve had phone calls to two of our phone numbers. They often don’t leave names, or it’s a bogus name with no return number,” Smith tells EastIdahoNews.com. “Nobody on the executive committee involved in organizing the event thought for a moment to get another speaker. It’s a free country. We believe in free speech. We do not cancel people because we disagree with their views. Let him come and speak, and then we can judge it on the outcome.”

D’Souza was invited to the Lincoln Day Dinner before the controversy erupted. Smith says one reason is because the author “epitomizes the great American dream.”

Born in Mumbai (then-Bombay), D’Souza came to the United States as an exchange student and graduated from Dartmouth College. He is the author of several New York Times best-selling books and has produced documentaries critical of liberalism and what he calls “the left’s intolerant tolerance.”

“The concept of intolerant tolerance is to invoke tolerance to justify the most mean-spirited intolerance,” D’Souza tells EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s a very dirty game. The people on the left declare, ‘We’re the party of tolerance. Therefore, we get to identify all these intolerant people who don’t agree with us and exhibit intolerance toward them.'”

D’Souza cites efforts to shut down free speech and attacks on the Bill of Rights, particularly the second amendment.

“If you make statements like, ‘The safety of kids comes ahead of an outdated document,’ which is one of the phrases I saw today, that’s not just rationale for getting rid of the Second Amendment, but it’s rationale for getting rid of the first, second, fourth and the fifth amendments,” D’Souza says. “Think of about it this way — if the safety of kids comes first, why shouldn’t cops be able to do unreasonable searches of homes and vehicles without a warrant?”

D’Souza says his views on politics changed after serving eight months in a halfway house following a 2014 guilty plea in federal court. He admitted to using a “straw donor” to make an illegal campaign contribution to a 2012 United States Senate campaign.

After serving time, he released “Hillary’s America,” a documentary film and book that D’Souza says exposes a much “grittier” side of politics.

“Before my incarceration in a halfway house for eight months overnight, I tended to look at American politics as an intellectual debate between two sides with rival philosophical principles,” D’Souza says. “I learned politics is a dirty game with petty, narcissistic people who use weapons of government at their disposal. Greed and lust and revenge and retaliation are the driving motives in American politics.”

D’Souza plans to speak about the current state of events during his Idaho Falls visit and show a preview to his upcoming film “Death of a Nation,” which he says focuses on “the real threat facing the country and how we save America yet again.”

Republican gubernatorial candidates Tommy Ahlquist, Congressman Raul Labrador and Lt. Gov. Brad Little will also speak at the event.

The Bonneville County Republican Party Second Annual Lincoln Day Banquet will be held April 14 at Melaleuca Global Headquarters (4609 W. 65th South) in Idaho Falls. A general public social begins at 6:30 p.m. with dinner and a program starting at 7:30 p.m.

Corporate tables, general public and student tickets are available by calling Doyle Beck at (208) 589-2326 or Stephanie Gifford at (425) 890-1771.

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