Best-selling conservative author, Iraq War veteran and National Review commentator David French will speak at Cornell University on September 18 at the invitation of the Cornell University College Republicans.
“We decided to bring Mr. French because he is among the most thoughtful voices on the Right today,” said CR President Isaac Schorr ’20. “Unapologetic, well-versed, and respectful, he’s everything that the CRs strive to be as political advocates.”
French currently serves as a senior writer for the National Review, a right-leaning publication that has served as a mainstay outlet in conservative circles since its founding. Previously, French served as president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group that pledges “to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities.”
After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1994, French worked as senior legal counsel for the American Center of Law and Justice and the Alliance Defending Freedom, advocacy organizations focused on the intersection of the Constitution and religion — issues that will feature prominently in his speech later this month.
According to Schorr, French “will be speaking about cultural conservatism and its merits,” a topic that will include a discussion on “the importance of a legal system that protects religious freedom and culturally conservative views — an especially prescient topic right now and one that he’s eminently qualified to address given his distinguished legal career.”
Despite his right-of-center bona fides, French has famously staked out a position as a staunch Trump skeptic, frequently criticizing him as “dishonest and morally corrupt.” French’s status as a “Never Trumper” — a term commonly used to denote conservatives who oppose the President — has earned the writer a barrage of highly-publicized online harassment.
According to NPR, “French was bombarded with hateful tweets — including an image of his child in a gas chamber,” in response to publicly rebuking those aligned with the alt-right.
The speech later this month also marks something of a homecoming for French, who previously served as a lecturer at Cornell Law School.
While French has written positively of his former employer in previous essays, he referenced aspects of his tenure at the University in an op-ed criticizing ideological homogeneity in American higher education.
“When I left Cornell Law School … I cringed when a colleague toasted me by saying, ‘To David, the person who taught me that conservatives are people too,’” he wrote in the National Review. “She was joking, of course, and I took it in the spirit it was it was intended. But there was an uncomfortable truth only half-hidden in her words.”
French will present on September 18 at 6 p.m. in Goldwin Smith Hall G64. The event is free and tickets are not required.