Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza headlines Bonneville County Lincoln Day Dinner

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Dinesh D’Souza addresses attendees of the Bonneville County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner. | Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — Endorsements, Donald Trump, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were all part of the Bonneville County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner Saturday.

Just prior to the dinner a group of legislators gathered together and endorsed Congressman Raul Labrador for Governor of Idaho. Around 30 state and local legislators, including those in attendance at the dinner and legislators who were unable to make it threw their support behind the candidate.

“Everybody makes campaign promises on the trail, I think it’s rare that you find a politician or a statesman that actually keeps his promises,” Rep. Bryan Zollinger (R-Idaho Falls) said. “If you look back at the things Raul Labrador in prior campaigns, he has kept every single promise that he has ever made to the people.”

Competing gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Brad Little and Tommy Ahlquist also attended the Lincoln Day Dinner alongside many other state and local candidates. Best-selling author and conservative political commentator Dinesh D’Souza was the keynote speaker.

D’Souza came under fire earlier this year for a Tweet that mocked student survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. He later deleted the Tweet and apologized for the insensitive remark.

Local event organizers said there was some pressure to cancel D’Souza because of the Tweet, but they went ahead with it because of a belief in free speech. “We do not cancel people because we disagree with their views,” Bonneville County GOP vice chairman Bryan Smith said in March.

In his opening statements at the dinner, D’Souza said the era of gentleman politics from the Reagan era is over and compared Lincoln’s election and the cessation of the south to Trump and the refusal of some Democrats to accept his legitimacy as the president of the United States.

“The crazy thing about Trump is that he’s, in many ways, the opposite of Reagan,” D’Souza said. “Reagan was a guy who focused on one or two things. Reagan believed that you can’t change the world in 30 ways. The thing about Trump. He fights on every front, this guy.”

D’Souza said Republicans are being attacked, not just by the Democrats, but by three different groups.

“It’s coming from the Democrats in an alliance with three other groups: academia, the media and the entertainment industry,” he said. “The left controls the big megaphones of our culture. And they use this to disseminate a kind of unbelievable barrage of propaganda. What I call ‘big lies.'”

He also said the common belief that Democrat and Republican parties switched platforms is absolutely false. He said the one unifying idea of the Republican party going back to Lincoln, as Lincoln put it, is that “the hand that makes the corn has the right to put the corn in its own mouth.”

D’Souza said that means Republicans believe in letting people keep the fruits of their labors.

“Is it not a fact that if we were to describe the Democratic party, we could hardly do better than the simple principle that all of their programs … are those programs not reducible to the simple notion ‘you work, I eat,'” D’Souza said. “One person produces and another person consumes at his expense or her expense. So, the parties have not switched platforms.”

The Lincoln Day Dinner was held at the Melaleuca Global Headquarters. The banquet hall was completely sold out with 45 people on the standby list. With 840 dinners served the Lincoln Day Dinner had around 150 more people in attendance than the previous year.

As part of the Bonneville County Republican fundraising effort, there was a silent auction and a raffle. Up for auction and raffle were gold and silver coins and a number of firearms.

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