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Political commentator and podcast host discusses politics and civil dialogue


By Charlotte Groves, University of Delaware senior and intern for the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication

Watch the video, listen to the podcast, read the transcript, and read the Review news story.

OCTOBER 10, 2019―Self-avowed Republican Never Trumper Tara Setmayer called herself an unapologetic but sane conservative when she spoke at the University of Delaware on October 2. During her conversation with National Agenda Director Lindsay Hoffman, an associate professor of communication at UD, at the fourth event of the National Agenda speaker series, Setmayer discussed President Trump’s impeachment inquiry and also emphasized both speaking out and listening to one another. "Just because you might have a difference of opinion with someone, doesn’t mean that you’re close-minded to other people and their opinions."

Tara Setmayer at University of Delaware on October 2, 2019

​Tara Setmayer, a CNN political commentator, discussed "Speaking from the Right" on October 2, 2019, as part of the National Agenda 2019: Direction Democracy speaker series.

On midterm 2018 election night, the CNN political commentator, contributor to ABC news, and former GOP communications director on Capitol Hill predicted that Trump would face an impeachment inquiry. “If he were actually governing and not doing things that warranted subpoenas and impeachment inquiries then it would be a little bit more difficult to justify it,” said Setmayer. “Donald Trump has been very lawless, and it finally caught up to him.” Setmayer said she never wanted to be more wrong about her prediction, and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was methodical about the decision.

While discussing multiracial categories, Setmayer said that there was never a box for her and she’s an “other,” but embraces being different. Never being big on identity politics, Setmayer does not like labels because they come with preconceived notions. “You’ll never hear me call myself an African American because I’m not that. That’s not my ethnicity. But I am a woman of color and an American first.”

 “You’re like a one-women explainer,” said Hoffman about Setmayer’s podcast, Honestly Speaking with Tara, describing Setmayer as someone who can really break down the facts. “My mother calls me Tara-pedia,” said Setmayer.

Setmayer has learned to manage criticism online. “When you’re a minority female conservative, you learn to let criticism roll off your back very early on.” Setmayer grew up in a blue-collar environment 15 minutes outside of New York and credited her mother for giving her tough skin, “My mom is very influential in my life.” 

Tara Setmayer and Lindsay on stage at Mitchell Hall on October 2, 2019

​Tara Setmayer (left) and Lindsay Hoffman (right), National Agenda Director, discussed the current state of democracy in America at the University of Delaware's Mitchell Hall Auditorium in Newark, Delaware.

“What candidate would you be willing to support in either party right now?” asked Hoffman. 

"I am fully 100% behind Joe Biden," said Setmayer. "I’m not just saying that because we’re in his backyard.  Even though I may disagree with many of Joe Biden’s personal policies―like I’m not a Democrat―however, he is a good and decent man, he knows how to govern, he’ll bring back some normalcy." Setmayer’s endorsement of one of UD’s most renowned alumni drew applause and cheers. 

Speaking out is important, regardless of political beliefs or any other reason. "Never be bullied into silence and be unapologetic for who God made you," said Setmayer. "If you have a point of view―you speak from experience, you want to express it to others, you feel there is an injustice―stand up because evil triumphs when good men, or good women, do nothing. And it takes people to stand up and do something for things to change."

Americans must start listening to and understanding one another. "Don’t approach conversations all the time trying to prove someone wrong," said Setmayer. "It's really just about listening and sharing your perspective because whether you’re right or wrong is not going to change anything between you and that person or whatever is happening right then. It’s not going to make a damn bit of difference."

About National Agenda

​The ninth annual National Agenda speaker series, hosted by the University of Delaware's Center for Political Communication, brings nationally known speakers to campus and encourages students, staff, faculty, and community members to join the conversation. CPC Associate Director Lindsay Hoffman, directs the series. This year's theme, "Direction Democracy," explores where we have been, where we are going, and the current state of democracy in the United States. National Agenda is free and open to the public. It is made possible with support from the University of Delaware's Office of the Provost and the College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, please visit cpc.udel.edu/nationalagenda.

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CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer discussed President Trump’s impeachment inquiry and also emphasized both speaking out and listening to one another.

​CNN political commentator Tara Setmayer discussed President Trump’s impeachment inquiry and also emphasized both speaking out and listening to one another. 

10/11/2019
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