- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 24, 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sen. Ted Cruz got a welcome reception at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, painting the country’s leading challenge as a battle between freedom and power.

The Texas Republican blasted big government and big business, touting as today’s freedom fighters people ranging from the Canadian truckers protesting COVID lockdowns to podcaster Joe Rogan and former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss.

“The fundamental conflict that is playing out across this great nation is a battle between power and liberty. The two are in fundamental conflict,” Mr. Cruz told an enthusiastic crowd.

Mr. Cruz has long been a favorite speaker of the four-day conference, often seen as a test stage for presidential hopefuls who can appeal to the GOP’s conservative base.

Mr. Cruz poked fun at left-wing censorship, encouraging people to stand up against attempts to silence their viewpoints.

“Speak out,” Mr. Cruz said, “Use your voice. Every one of you has a powerful megaphone to the world. Speak out and use your voice.”

The senator also depicted a hopeful vision for the GOP, expressing confidence that Republicans will soon take back the White House and Congress.

“Change is coming,” he said. “You want to know how powerful? Find me one person on planet Earth who doesn’t know what ‘Let’s Go Brandon!’” means.

The crowd chanted the slogan, a euphemism for a vulgar insult of President Biden and a shot at the mainstream media, as Mr. Cruz departed the stage.

Mr. Cruz was one of several speakers who gave keynote addresses to kick off the conference.

Former President Donald Trump will cap off the event with a speech on Saturday evening.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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