COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina Republicans gathered tonight for the 52nd annual Silver Elephant Gala at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.
The gala offered a chance for approximately 750 GOP leaders and supporters to meet and galvanize ahead of the 2020 election year.
Former South Carolina Congressman and current White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney served as the keynote speaker. Mulvaney who also serves as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Trump Administration, outed what he says are the administration’s accomplishments over the past two and a half years.
In a brief press conference before the gala that included South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Henry McMaster, Mulvaney said he was pleased Congress recently passed a federal budget to raise the debt ceiling. He admitted the administration had to sacrifice spending more than it wanted to get some policy protections important to Republicans including increased funding for the military.
Both Graham and Mulvaney also responded to what they heard from Democratic Presidential Candidates in the two nights of debates this past week.
“There's always Democrats around running promising you something for nothing.” Mulvaney explained. “We're gonna forgive all your student loan debts. We're gonna forgive all your car debts. We're gonna make sure you get college for free. Anything you want for free you can have it. Just vote for me. That's been a Democrat talking point for as long as I can remember. Name me a Democrat for President who ever won on that campaign.”
Graham doubled down.
“Here’s what I predict,” said Graham. “If we decriminalize coming into American illegally, and once you get here you get free health care, a lot of people are gonna take us up on that. Like half the world will be here in six months.”
None of the men commented regarding President Trump’s recent tweets slamming Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings. However, they all agreed they would like to see the party become more diverse in Congress.
Also among the attendees at the gala was former South Carolina Congressman and Governor Mark Sanford, who is reportedly considering a primary challenge to President Trump. When asked if he was in fact running for President, or had made a decision, he smiled and said “not tonight.”
The Silver Elephant Gala has attracted some big names in the past, perhaps none bigger than the first keynote speaker in 1967, former President Ronald Reagan.
Other speakers include Senator Ted Cruz in 2013, Vice President Mike Pence in 2008, former Chief of Staff for President Trump, Reince Preibus in 2015 and conservative commentator Sean Hannity in 2007.