Standing at the head of a room packed to bursting with conservatives, Nigel Farage, the face of Brexit, was in his element.
Farage, delivering the keynote address at the Civitas Institute’s 2017 Conservative Leadership Conference, seemed comfortable among the crowd that came out to hear the former United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) head speak.
But Farage didn’t use the half hour to take a victory lap on the Brexit victory, though there are moves across the pond to weaken if not override the secession.
No, Farage spoke about his views on President Donald Trump — spoiler alert, they are positive — and about what folly America has fallen into, and Trump’s charge to fight back, much like Britain has been fighting to regain its national identity from the European Union.
He told the crowd that Trump represents everything for Americans that UKIP was represented for Britons.
He told the crowd that Trump gives a voice to ordinary people, that Trump stood up for what the people who elected expected of him, despite whatever pressures he felt from the outside.
“I was the only, the only, political figure that was involved in both the Brexit campaign, and in the Trump campaign. I was the only political figure in the entire United Kingdom to stand up and say that I thought Trump had the right stuff, that he had the right qualities, and I’ve endured my fair share of abuse over the years but I got more abuse over supporting Trump that anything I’ve ever done before in my life, and you know what, it was worth every single bit,” Farage said.
Farage said that he was pleased to be in Raleigh with Civitas, but that he had one issue that he told Civitas President Francis De Luca about.
“I’m pleased to be here in North Carolina tonight, I’m pleased to be here with Civitas, though I must say, Francis, I have one criticism,” he said ” I am disappointed to be your guest speaker tonight, to the point of being offended, [because] there are no protestors outside. What is going on?”
Farage’s comment was met with laughs and cheers, like many others during his speech.
Farage said that 2016 was, globally, an incredible year on politics with the election of Trump and approval of Brexit.
“2016 was the most incredible year in global politics, the beginning of a great fight back in politics when the left and the right have become virtually indistinguishable from each other. I simply couldn’t tell when (Mitt) Romney took on (President Barack) Obama, I simply couldn’t tell what the policy differentiation was, I couldn’t see it,” he said.
Farage’s main point however was to highlight the conviction with which Trump moves forward, saying that Trump will stay the course no matter what, and that he needs the support of the people, and legislators in Washington.
“All of you have got congressman, and have got senators, and given that you are politically active, are liable to being lobbied,” he said. “What I want you to do is to lobby. Lobby your congressman, lobby your senators and help this president get some legislation through that will make America safe again. Get the legislation through that will ease the burden of regulation of small and medium size business. What the hell had happened to free market capitalism. Where has it gone?”
Farage continued, building to a crescendo as he put out the call for lobbying in support of Trump.
“Lobby your senators, lobby your congressman, lobby this obstruction against what Trump wants to do,” he said. “Lobby to be free, lobby for liberty, lobby to get rid of excessive regulation, lobby to be strong, lobby for America to once again be a great country, this man can do it for you, he deserves your support.”
The crowd erupted following Farage’s final points with a second standing ovation to bookend the ovation he was given at the start of his speech.