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Monica Crowley’s Constitution Day lecture takes unexpected political turn

An "American Exceptionalism" conversation morphs into tense political debate at FAU’s annual Constitution Day event.

FAU’s Constitution Day event, “U.S. Constitution and the Spirit of America,” held at the Osher Lifelong Auditorium, experienced unexpected controversy as politics took center stage.

September 17 is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. This day commemorates the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787. Each educational institution that receives Federal funds for a fiscal year must hold an educational program about the U.S. Constitution for its students on September 17. Each year, FAU invites guest panelists to participate in various events during ‘Constitutional Week’ to discuss multiple topics on the relevance of the Constitution in America. 

Monica Crowley, news analyst and former assistant secretary for public affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department, was this year’s keynote speaker to discuss the Constitution’s enduring influence. However, her focus on “American Exceptionalism” and critical remarks about “Marxists and globalists within the current administration” quickly altered the tone of the event.

The audience’s unease became evident as Crowley brought attention to the roles of Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan. Whispers and chuckles could be heard, and a noticeable number of attendees exited the auditorium during her opening speech.

Crowley revealed to the UP during a lunch event before her speech that she worked with former President Richard Nixon for the last four years of his life and considered him a mentor. She also mentioned having former President Donald Trump as a guest on her podcast, “The Monica Crowley Podcast.”

“What drove me to work with them [Trump and Nixon] was that they were both American patriots, and both outsiders, spurred by the establishment. Both to corrupt the status quo. They were rebels with a cause, despised because they were not part of the establishment,” Crowley said during her speech. 

The event’s core agenda, exploring the Constitution’s transformative power on America, became overshadowed by heated discussions. Topics shifted the dialogue entirely, especially the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Subsequent discussions, rather than discussing the central theme of the event, saw Crowley defending Trump’s stance on the Capitol events. She even alleged there was enough evidence suggesting the FBI’s involvement in allowing rioters into the Capitol.

As discussions about the Capitol continued, the auditorium saw a significant drop in attendees. The remaining audience members witnessed an escalating debate between Crowley, Douglas C. Lyons of the Palm Beach Post, and former USA Today investigative reporter Daphne Duret.

Things reached a boiling point when a frustrated attendee demanded a refund, exclaiming the panel’s deviation from its core topic: the Constitution. One man stormed out of the auditorium shouting and demanding a refund for his $40 ticket. 

Despite the mounting tensions, the event continued  — although the original topic of the Constitution’s significance in America was not further addressed. 

Sofia De La Espriella is the News Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email or message her on Instagram @sofidelaespriella.

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