Charlie Kirk, a pro-Trump student activist and a founder of Turning Point USA, called US President Donald Trump a "bodyguard of western civilization" during a speech at the beginning of the Republican National Convention.
"Speaking to you in my personal capacity tonight as a 26-year-old, I see the angst of young people, as well as the challenges facing new parents. I am here tonight to tell you, to warn you, that this election is a decision between preserving America as we know it, and eliminating everything that we love [...] We may have not realized it at the time, but Trump is the bodyguard of western civilization", Kirk stated.
America is a nation worth saving.@realDonaldTrump is our only hope to do that.— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) August 25, 2020
He is the Bodyguard of Western Civilization and the defender of our freedoms and the American Way of Life and we must deliver him four more years in the White House. pic.twitter.com/GdEAUjhKVW
The phrase "bodyguard of western civilization" immediately caused waves on Twitter, with netizens hardly believing their ears and "noping" out of the convention hardly after it began. It did not take long for users to mock Trump and his political platform.
"Trump is the bodyguard of Western civilization" I'm sorry Charlie Kirk but WHAT— Noah Geller 🐀 (@ratman50) August 25, 2020
How many households watching this just burst out laughing at the exit music?— Andrew Bates (@AndrewBatesNC) August 25, 2020
Others saw the phrase as a "code" for "white people", and slammed both Kirk and Trump for racism.
she meant "Trump is the bodyguard of White Western Civilization"— K. Smokey Cormier *Black Lives Matter* (@msmanitobain) August 25, 2020
If you wondering if "bodyguard of Western Civilization" is coded white-supremacist languages -- wonder no longer.— Hugh Harker (@htharker) August 25, 2020
"Western Civilization"— KB Bebop 🥤 (@kbbebop) August 25, 2020
Some were quick to identify a cultural reference, comparing America to Whitney Houston, while citing the critically-panned but extremely profitable movie 'Bodyguard' in which she co-starred with Kevin Costner.
Did he break into song after saying it? https://t.co/0AUoShCTSL— The Surrealist Side of the Street (@coolgrey) August 25, 2020
“President Trump is the body guard of western civilization”.... Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston are so upset pic.twitter.com/YGM55O5xkD— Jesse Howard (@TheJesseHoward) August 25, 2020
Kirk, an enthusiastic Trump supporter, founded his conservative student organisation, Turning Point USA, which describes itself "to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom". He often appears in campaign-style events with the president.
Kirk's speech opened the Republican National Convention, with other speakers including Matt Gaetz, Donald Trump Jr. and Nikky Haley expected to join.
The Republican National Convention is taking place from 24 to 27 August, with Donald Trump re-nominated as the Republican presidential candidate. He is expected to deliver an acceptance speech on Thursday evening, the final night of the convention.