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Eastman memo, Trump worship should put an end to annual Freedom Festival in Beaver Creek

September 20, 2021, 12:14 pm
Donald Trump
President Donald Trump

Why does the name John Eastman sound so familiar to readers of RealVail.com and people paying attention to right-wing politics in Eagle County in particular and Colorado in general?

Eastman is the former Chapman University law professor and attorney for former President Donald Trump whose 2020 Newsweek column drew praise from Trump and national condemnation from others for echoing the disproved and racist Obama birther conspiracy Trump championed for years before finally acknowledging it wasn’t true. Eastman questioned the eligibility of Biden vice presidential pick Kamala Harris, who was born in Oakland, Calif.

John Eastman

Eastman spoke at the Steamboat Institute’s 12th annual Freedom Conference and Festival at Beaver Creek in August of 2020, eliciting this coverage on both RealVail.com and the Colorado Times Recorder.

And now Eastman is back in the headlines for a far more troubling reason than dangerous racist smears. As first revealed in the new Bob Woodward book “Peril,” Eastman was the author of a memo that offered a blueprint for how former Vice President Mike Pence could essentially toss out the results of the free, fair, fully vetted and legally scrutinized 2020 presidential election of Joe Biden over Trump by more than 7 million votes.

Thankfully, Pence listened to former Vice President Dan Quayle and others and did his constitutional duty, even as Trump sent an angry mob to the Capitol to try to hang him and keep his administration in power during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Eastman spoke at Trump’s rally in Washington that day and will no doubt be closely scrutinized by the congressional select committee investigating the failed coup.

Besides being a darling of the right and a speaker at the far-right confab in Beaver Creek last year – an event endorsed by the Eagle County Republican Party – why should local and statewide readers care about Eastman and his dangerous ideas about how easily democratic elections can be undermined?

Because the lone Republican to hold statewide office in Colorado, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, is a backer of both Eastman and Trump and now a candidate to take on Gov. Jared Polis if she can land the GOP nomination for the 2022 governor’s race.

Heidi Ganahl

Unless she immediately disavows Eastman’s past controversial connections to the University of Colorado, his racist positions on Harris and his dangerous memo providing a blueprint for future coups, Ganahl should be disqualified as a candidate for governor. It doesn’t matter that Trump and Eastman weren’t successful, because they will no doubt try again in 2024.

Also, the Eagle County Republican Party needs to disavow the Steamboat Institute’s annual Freedom Conference and Festival at Beaver Creek. It was held again this year after first moving to Eagle County in 2020 to take advantage of less-strict COVID-19 regulations than in its home Routt County.

Beaver Creek Resort and the Park Hyatt should also disavow the conference. Any event that promotes people who promote the violent overthrowing of our duly elected federal government should not be welcomed for the sake of a few bucks. Trumpism and its ongoing promotion is a scam increasingly soaking up blood money from conspiracy mongers who are being lied to.

Perhaps this year’s version wasn’t quite as steeped in COVID quackery and legal hackery, but headliner Mike Pompeo, after initially denouncing Jan. 6 rioters and calling for prosecutions, has heaped praise on the twice-impeached Trump’s presidency and remains one of his most loyal MAGA acolytes.

Polis, praised for participating last month (and calling for an end to state income taxes), lends credibility to a forum that has none. For years, Beaver Creek was known as the home of the conservative AEI World Forum launched by former President Gerald Ford.

Let’s hope it doesn’t become known as the longtime home of the Freedom Forum fomenting insurrection and deadly anti-vaxxer, anti-government conspiracy theories.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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