Some Twitter users took notice after political activist and social media influencer Candace Owens was not included on the list of people speaking at the Republican National Convention, slated to kick off Monday, August 24.
Owens, a Black conservative, quickly became a top-trending Twitter topic on the microblog, amassing more than 25,000 mentions. Owens has been an open supporter of President Donald Trump and created #Blexit, a movement to discourage Black Americans from voting with the Democratic party.
If she did have the chance to appear, Owens said she would have “crushed” former President Barack Obama, who was openly critical of Trump during the Democratic National Convention last week. Owens was responding to a tweet from comedian Tom Dillon, who argued the Blexit leader deserved to be speaking over former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Hayley and Trump’s youngest daughter, Tiffany Trump.
I would have crushed Obama’s DNC appearance. https://t.co/RdJlSmK00R
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) August 23, 2020
Heavy reached out to the RNC and Owens for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Social Media Users Want to Know Why Owens Wasn’t Invited to Speak
Wait, why isn’t Candace Owens speaking? And where’s Tulsi?
They put in such hard work uplifting the GOP that I was almost certain they’d be rewarded with some prominent recognition at the RNC. Let’s also not forget the value of added diversity! pic.twitter.com/TlidDsdqgs
— Adrienne Lawrence (@AdrienneLaw) August 23, 2020
Social media influencer Melissa Tate, who identifies as a conservative and “Trumpublican,” wrote one of the most favored tweets about Owens. “Candace Owens must be speaker at the RNC convention. I know some black conservatives don’t like her but we have to put our differences aside & unite for a Trump Victory. Candice Owens has a powerful voice, articulate & has great presence,” she wrote, garnering more than 8,000 likes. In June, TribLive quoted a Black Ohio pastor as saying Owens’ comments about George Floyd “‘almost caused a conservative civil war’ among Black Trump supporters.”
Staying in the Game author and lawyer Adrienne Lawrence also penned a popular tweet asking why Owens wasn’t included. “Wait, why isn’t Candace Owens speaking? And where’s Tulsi?” she asked, likely referring to Democratic U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard.
Gabbard campaigned to win the Democratic presidential nomination, remaining in the race until March 2020. Gabbard confirmed she was not invited to speak at the DNC, as noted by Newsweek.
“They put in such hard work uplifting the GOP that I was almost certain they’d be rewarded with some prominent recognition at the RNC. Let’s also not forget the value of added diversity!” Lawrence tweeted. “Maybe I’m off about this but… When 50% of the key speakers at your convention are you or directly related to you, isn’t that a problem?”
The RNC Theme Is ‘Honoring the Great American Story’
A range of people will speak during the four-day event, including people who help create “the great American story,” Trump’s family members and political supporters, CBS reported. Included in that mix are Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protestors in June. They are speaking on the first night of the event.
Also included in the list of speakers for Monday night are Representative Matt Gaetz, Representative Jim Jordan and Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign fundraiser who is dating Donald Trump Jr.
Trump will make an appearance during every night of the event, CNN reported, citing a Republican source.
Jason Miller, a senior adviser for Trump’s campaign, told NBC Republicans will show an “optimistic and upbeat convention this week,” as opposed to the Democrats, who, in his words, had a “massive grievance fest.”
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that Gabbard did not “briefly” campaign to be the Democratic presidential nominee. When she dropped out of the campaign in March 2020, she was one of three candidates and the only woman.