CPAC speaker says, "Transgenderism must be eradicated," while claiming it doesn't exist

Michael J. Knowles, a host on The Daily Wire, targeted the trans community on Saturday with genocidal comments

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published March 4, 2023 4:23PM (EST)

American conservative political commentator Michael J. Knowles (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
American conservative political commentator Michael J. Knowles (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

During the second day of CPAC events, Michael J. Knowles, a political commentator and Daily Wire host, made a series of pointed comments towards the trans community that many are viewing as genocidal.

Ramping up to his speech on Saturday, Knowles called for the banning of transgenderism entirely in a recent episode of "The Michael Knowles Show," adding that it wouldn't be genocide to do so as "It's not a legitimate category of being." Behind the podium on Saturday, he leveled up those initial remarks.

"There can be no middle way in dealing with transgenderism," Knowles said in his CPAC speech. "It is all or nothing. If transgenderism is true, If men really can become women, then it's true for everybody of all ages. If transgenderism is false — as it is — if men really can't become women — as they cannot — then it's false for everybody too. And if it's false, then we should not indulge it."

Continuing his Socratic rant, Knowles drove his point further saying, "For the good of society, transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely," gaining a wash of applause from those in attendance.

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"What exactly do you think 'eradication' entails? If you ever wondered how we get from hate speech to genocide, this is it," tweeted writer Alejandra Caraballo in response. "This isn't some fringe figure, this is a Daily Wire host speaking at CPAC. This is how pogroms start."

In a tweet replying to The Daily Beast coverage of his speech, Knowles posted a grab of their headline reading "Michael Knowles says transgender community must be 'eradicated' at CPAC," and argued a case for semantics, stating "I never said that and demand a retraction." The only difference between the headline and his actual speech being "transgender community" rather than simply "transgenderism." In a follow-up tweet, Knowles then shared a photo of the writer, a female intern, writing "oh." Leaving one to believe that Knowles not only has an issue with the trans community, but cisgender women as well. 

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

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Aggregate Cpac Genocide Lgbtq Michael J. Knowles Transgender