- Photo via Roger Stone/Facebook
Former Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone will no longer speak at a college Republican convention in Central Florida this weekend after multiple chapters refused to attend in opposition.
The Florida Federation of College Republicans
originally booked Stone, who was federally indicted on seven charges of obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering earlier this year, as the annual convention's keynote speaker. He and other "Republican activists" were set to speak at the event, according to an April 6 Eventbrite
Riley Houlihan, a member of the FFCR's executive board, declined to comment on who else was originally booked to speak at the event.
"The other individuals I'm not going to disclose because I don't have permission to do so at this time," Houlihan said.
Houlihan also said the cancellation was a matter of last-minute timing. The venue in which Stone was set to speak was never made public – the Eventbrite ticket page stated that attendees would have to wait to hear by email for the location, though it was rumored to be at the University of Central Florida. Prior to the cancellation, a UCF spokesperson said Stone was not officially booked to speak on the university's campus as of this morning.
Asked why the group decided to book Stone in the first place, Houlihan responded, "At this point that's no longer relevant because we're not moving forward with the event."
Houlihan then referred Orlando Weekly
to a statement provided to us earlier this week, when we first reported on Stone's undisclosed keynote.
FFCR secretary Luke Strominger then said Stone was an "entirely appropriate fit" for the event.
"Our organization is honored to host Roger and believe that in American [sic
] you are innocent until proven guilty," Strominger said. "We are aware that alt-left outlets like Orlando Weekly
have abandoned the idea of innocent until proven guilty and replaced it with conjured up pipe dreams of imaginary collusion."
Before Stone was canceled, though, college Republican groups like the University of Tampa College Republicans, the University of North Florida College Republicans and Nova Southeastern University College Republicans declined to attend once they realized Stone was the keynote speaker.
"We believe that our values do not line up with Mr. Stone, and that staying silent on this matter only hurts the FFCR," said the Nova Southeastern University College Republicans Executive Board in a statement, prior to the announcement of Stone and other speakers' cancellations. "We detest that the FFCR is approving and allowing Mr. Stone to speak."
The University of North Florida College Republicans seconded that sentiment: "We believe that our political values do not align with Roger Stone, and that he is not the role model we wish to praise. He has high accomplishments as an individual; however, those accomplishments came at the cost of losing his integrity."
The University of Tampa College Republicans said in a statement, "We are disappointed in the leadership of the FFCR for allowing a political malignancy like Roger Stone to be given a platform to speak, and even more disgusted that the FFCR leadership has the audacity to authorize Mr. Stone to ask attendants for financial support of his legal fund."
Following the announcement of Stone's canceled keynote, the University of Tampa College Republicans and the Nova Southeastern University College Republicans Executive Board congratulated FFCR chairwoman Krissy Kulavic on her decision to nix Stone's platform at the event.
"There are many loud voices on the fringes of our party who portray Mr. Stone as a victim or even a hero of conservatism," the University of Tampa College Republicans said in a statement. "He is not what the University of Tampa College Republicans represents. He is not what conservatism represents. He is not what the Republican Party represents."
A statement from the Nova Southeastern University College Republicans Executive Board concurred: "We believe this choice shows that they want what is best for the Federation, and will impact the bright young minds attending Convention positively."
Stone, who has insisted he's innocent
, is currently awaiting trial on Nov. 5 for charges alleging that he lied about his efforts to secretly contact WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election.
He's pleaded not guilty to the seven charges of obstruction of justice, lying to Congress and witness tampering brought against him, and was released on bail following his arrest earlier in Florida this year.
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