BLACKFOOT, Idaho — A new political action committee in Idaho announced Saturday that it is calling for the resignation of Idaho Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin.
Take Back Idaho said it calls for McGeachin's resignation after it learned McGeachin spoke at the America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC).
Several Idahoans who've been involved in policy-making for decades formed the Take Back Idaho PAC late last year.
A few notable names among Take Back Idaho PAC's board of directors are retired Idaho Supreme Court Justice and former Idaho Attorney General Jim Jones, former Speaker of the House Bruce Newcomb and former Senate Pro Tempore Bob Geddes, all registered Republicans. Past President of the Idaho Cattle Association Jennifer Ellis chairs the board of directors.
According to Take Back Idaho's news release, AFPAC is a "far-right, white nationalist alternative," to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). CPAC is currently taking place in Orlando, Florida and the conference runs through Sunday.
CPAC began in 1974 and brings together elected officials and conservative leaders from around the world. The 2022 event is headlined by speakers such as former U.S. President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Sen. Ted Cruz and more.
AFPAC’s listed attendees and speakers included a roster of "white nationalist figures," including its founder Nick Fuentes, Gavin McInnes, Vincent James, Milo Yiannopoulos, Baked Alaska and Beardson Beardsly, Take Back Idaho said.
Take Back Idaho's news release said Fuentes gave a speech at AFPAC Friday night where he said, "the US government has become the Great Satan that many have called it." Fuentes also said it is a "good thing" to compare Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler, before later adding "I shouldn't have said that," according to Take Back Idaho.
During her speech to the in-person AFPAC crowd, McGeachin said; “Congratulations on your event. Keep up the good work fighting for our country.”
"You would think that in a ruby red state such as Idaho, that we would be immune to the devastating teachings of critical race theory that are infiltrating our universities and our school systems," McGeachin said.
Take Back Idaho said McGeachin also added, “I need freedom fighters... even when that means fighting amongst our own ranks because too many Republicans don't exhibit the courage today."
McGeachin ended by saying, "Together we will fight to make Idaho great again."
The AFPAC speech was also viewed online.
Take Back Idaho has a stated goal of freeing Idaho "from the grip of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, its partner organizations, and their acolytes in the GOP legislative ranks." The organization said McGeachin is supported by many Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) board members and donors.
Take Back Idaho issued the following statement in its announcement Saturday, calling for Idaho Lt. Gov. McGeachin to resign:
“McGeachin’s participation in AFPAC shows that she is openly courting the most extreme fringes of society—including QAnon conspiracy theorists, January 6 insurrectionists, white nationalists and Holocaust deniers—on a national stage. She intends to be their voice in Idaho politics. McGeachin is dangerous to Idahoans and to all of us who value the rule of law.
“The fact that McGeachin didn’t announce or mention the speech to her constituents shows she knows enough about AFPAC’s extremist leadership and followers to know Idahoans would not approve. Her secrecy, hypocrisy, and lack of moral character should now be crystal-clear to all Idahoans: She’s unfit to hold her current office, and certainly should not be one heartbeat away from the governor’s office.
“McGeachin must resign immediately.”
The Take Back Idaho news release said at one point during the AFPAC Friday, attendees chanted "Putin! Putin," and cheered the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In response to Take Back Idaho's announcement, McGeachin released a statement of her own Saturday afternoon on her 'Janice McGeachin for Governor' Facebook page:
"The media wants us to play a guilt-by-association game where conservatives (and only conservatives) are accused of believing everything ever said by anyone with whom they share a stage. Don't tell me what I believe. Listen to my words.
"I support America First policies including individual liberty, election integrity, a strong and secure border, school choice, energy independence, reducing taxes and regulations, and supporting American businesses.
"I was invited to submit a video to AFPAC, and I took the opportunity to share my views about these vital America First policies.
"I do not and have never supported identity politics or other discriminatory views that only seek to divide us and not unite us. Anyone who actually listens to what I say or who pays attention to what I've done in my many years of service knows this is true."
The Take Back Idaho PAC includes conservatives as well as moderates, Jones said, and includes native Idahoans, former leaders of the Idaho House and Senate, educators, a former Secretary of State, ranchers, farmers and veteran GOP officers among its ranks.
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