May 24, 2019
You don’t want to cross Neera Tanden on Twitter. Just ask Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, whose business she threatened to boycott if he runs for president.
“Vanity projects that help destroy democracy are disgusting,” she tweeted in January. “If he enters the race, I will start a Starbucks boycott because I’m not giving a penny that will end up in the election coffers of a guy who will help Trump win.”
As president of the Center for American Progress, a leading progressive think tank, Tanden sees herself as leading a proverbial “Never Again Trump” movement.
That doesn’t scare Michael Anton, a former spokesman for the National Security Council under President Trump. The author of a 2016 essay that became a rallying cry for Trump supporters, Anton believes the current president was the only candidate in the last election who defended America’s values.
“A Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto,” he wrote. “With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.”
Anton and Tanden will go head-to-head in the AJC Global Forum’s annual Great Debate on Monday, June 3. The provocative pundits will argue over whether decisions by the Trump administration, such as withdrawing from international climate accords and bowing out of nuclear arms deals, have knocked the U.S. off its global pedestal.
Tanden entered politics by way of the 1988 presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis. Years later, she served in the Clinton administration and in a variety of roles for Hillary Clinton when she was first lady, a U.S. senator, and a candidate against Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.
After working as director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, she focused on the Affordable Care Act as a senior adviser for health reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Anton, a former speechwriter for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and President George W. Bush, gained prominence with his provocative essays ahead of Trump’s election. In his essay titled “The Flight 93 Election,” he rallied voters to think of themselves as the brave passengers who charged the cockpit of a plane that was hijacked on September 11, 2001.
In a previous essay, he defended the America First Committee that opposed U.S. involvement in World War II and said that "only an insane society" would take in Muslim immigrants after the September 11 attacks.
In February, Anton published a sequel to his 2016 call to arms titled “After the Flight 93 Election: The Vote That Saved America and What We Still Have to Lose,” in which he explains the importance of defending what he believes are the founding principles that make America great.
If past AJC Global Forum Great Debates are any indication, this year’s will be a must-see. Be sure to tune in live as these two Washington insiders face off on one of the most important questions affecting our country and its place in the world. Go to AJC.org/webcasts to sign up for a friendly email reminder just prior to the Great Debate!