Erick Erickson. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Greg Bluestein/Political Insider blog
Photo: Greg Bluestein/Political Insider blog

Why Erick Erickson canceled 2020 conservative gathering in Atlanta

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson canceled his Resurgent Gathering in Atlanta next year because he’s worried he would be “held hostage at my own event”  over his criticism of President Donald Trump. 

“I don't want to put any speaker or sponsor in an awkward position,” the WSB Radio host wrote in a series of tweets. “And I want to say what I think without having to wonder if I might piss off someone who can undermine the conference.”

Once an outspoken member of the Never Trump movement, Erickson has fiercely defended the president on a range of issues and has talked of a surprise phone call from Trump thanking him for his support.

But he’s also continued to criticize Trump for some of his tweets and actions, including becoming one of the first well-known conservatives to blast the president’s comparison of impeachment to a “lynching.” 

Erickson said instead he will focus on building his new syndicated radio show, adding that forgoing the event will “do my stress levels good and not risk me having to compromise either the conference or my conscience.”

“In the past, I could criticize a Bush, a McCain, or a Romney and no Republicans really complained,” wrote Erickson, who has said that he still backs Trump.

“But things have gotten so tribal now, it doesn't matter how often you say you'll vote for Trump, if you criticize him or his policies at all, you're a traitor.”

The last Resurgent Gathering, held earlier this year at the Grand Hyatt in Buckhead, attracted Vice President Mike Pence to Georgia as well Gov. Brian Kemp and other leading state figures.

One of the loudest bursts of applause at that event came when Pence praised Kemp for signing strict new anti-abortion legislation into law. That measure, which could restrict some abortions as early as six weeks, is facing a federal court challenge.

It was Erickson’s previous group, however, that generated more national headlines. 

In 2015, the RedState Gathering in Atlanta he organized drew most of the Republican presidential contenders - with the notable exception of Trump, who was banned from the conference after his debate run-in with then-Fox host Megyn Kelly.

Erickson said in a post on Tuesday that canceling the event might also force him to shut down his website, but he said he’s hoping to “keep the lights on here” and plan another conference after the election.  

WSB Radio shares the same Cox corporate owner as the AJC. The radio unit is in the process of being sold to a private equity firm.

Insider’s note: This item was ripped and expanded from the Morning Jolt.

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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