Fact Check

Did a CPAC Banner Say, 'We Are All Domestic Terrorists'?

Another banner at the same conservative conference warned, "You're Next: The Rise of the Democrat Gulag."

Published Aug 10, 2022

DALLAS, TEXAS - AUGUST 04: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference CPAC held at the Hilton Anatole on August 04, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders in discussing current events and future political agendas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images) (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Image Via Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Claim:
A banner at an August 2022 CPAC conference read, "We Are All Domestic Terrorists."

Fact Check

The 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) took place in Dallas, Texas, from Aug. 4-7, featuring Republican notables such as former U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as an assortment of panel discussions.

A digital banner displayed during one of those panel discussions became the subject of controversy when photographs and video clips of it went viral on social media. The banner read: "We Are All Domestic Terrorists."

"Conservative panelists at CPAC Dallas embraced a new label on Saturday," read a tweet by the Houston Chronicle, "adopting 'domestic terrorist' as a badge of honor."

The banner -- actually, two banners -- can also be seen in the video clip below:

"We Are All Domestic Terrorists" was also the title of a panel discussion, it should be noted. Present on that panel was Julie Pickren, a Texas State Board of Education candidate who claimed the title was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, the Houston Chronicle reported. "Nobody in this room is a domestic terrorist," she reportedly told the crowd of attendees.

Among other digital banners spotted during the conference was one bearing the slogan, "You're Next: The Rise of the Democrat Gulag." It's unclear if that one was tongue-in-cheek as well.

A political science professor consulted by the Chronicle compared conservatives' sarcastic embrace of the descriptor "domestic terrorists" with their previous co-option of Hillary Clinton's characterization of Trump followers as a "basket of deplorables." However, the professor, Cal Jillson, suggested that the joke isn't quite so funny anymore. "To label yourself 'domestic terrorists' is over the line," she warned.


Sources:

Chron, Michael Murney. “We Are All Domestic Terrorists” Banner Displayed at CPAC Dallas. 8 Aug. 2022, https://www.chron.com/politics/article/CPAC-Dallas-we-are-all-domestic-terrorists-banner-17359959.php.

Melhado, William. At CPAC, Conservative Texans Show Donald Trump Loyalty and Support for Another Presidential Run. 7 Aug. 2022, https://www.texastribune.org/2022/08/06/cpac-donald-trump-texas/.

Tatum, Dan Merica, Sophie. Clinton Expresses Regret for Saying “half” of Trump Supporters Are “Deplorables” | CNN Politics. 10 Sept. 2016, https://www.cnn.com/2016/09/09/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-basket-of-deplorables/index.html.

David Emery is a Portland-based writer and editor with 25 years of experience fact-checking rumors, hoaxes, and contemporary legends.

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