By: Rose Laoutaris

Today was the first full day of the National Conservative Student Conference.  The day started with the “Coffee with YAFers” event, where I was able to talk to YAF chapter members all while drinking my favorite beverage.

The first speaker of the day was Brian Brenberg, who spoke to us about why profit is not evil and how capitalism has improved our lives.  He broke down complex terms about business and free markets that made it easy for anyone to understand.

Next, Michael Knowles spoke on how the Left “gets everything backwards.”  For example, he discussed the Left’s hypocrisy in supporting abortion but opposing the death penalty.

Michael Knowles responded to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s and Ilhan Omar’s claims of loving America by stating, “You don’t fundamentally transform things that you like.” He also used his humor, as he typically does, to make fun of leftist claims that we only have 14 months to reverse climate change.

Next, Fox News contributor Rachel Campos-Duffy discussed deception from the media in cases, such as the Covington Catholic story, as well as the importance of understanding pop culture.

“Don’t think that pop culture is beneath you,” she said, using President Trump as an example. She continued saying, “That’s what they’re afraid of.  They’re afraid of normalizing conservatives.”

I was able to meet more students attending the conference during the lunch break.  One thing that really surprised me was how many students are from California, but it is great to see that there are so many vocal and passionate young conservatives in such a liberal state. I was also able to take a picture with Michael Knowles and ask him if he thought a hot dog is a sandwich, which is something we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on (it is not a sandwich).

After lunch, we heard from Rep. Mia Love, Marc Short (Chief of Staff to the Vice President), and Alex Marlow.  Mia Love discussed the importance of defending our conservative values.  One quote from her speech that I loved was, “Be proud of being a conservative because you are right, and you are needed.”

Marc Short discussed the accomplishments of the Trump administration and conservative policies, and took many questions on a variety of issues, from the Second Amendment to Supreme Court nominations.

In the evening, we had a dinner banquet with John Bolton, the Assistant to the President for National Security. It was very interesting to hear from him since he talked about current issues, such as Iran, and national security is not my strong suit, so it was great to hear from an expert.

I’m so excited to hear from the rest of the speakers this week- it’s amazing to be surrounded by so many like-minded peers and I’m very thankful to YAF for this experience!

Rose Laoutaris is a rising freshman at American University.