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Trump reaches out to millennial voters during White House summit

Updated March 22, 2018 - 10:22 pm

WASHINGTON — The Trump White House reached out to millennials Thursday during a Generation Next summit for some 200 young voters, many from college Republican groups and conservative think tanks.

When conservative activist Charlie Kirk asked President Donald Trump what advice he would give his beleaguered college supporters, Trump jokingly replied, “Don’t run for president.”

Trump also said he believes radical leftists on campus “get all the publicity,” but if you go to most colleges, “I think we get majority support.”

The afternoon summit showcased differences between the two parties.

When Democrats want to woo young voters, they often talk about forgiving student loans, subsidizing health care and decriminalizing marijuana.

When Trump White House officials want to appeal to young voters, they talk about enacting more tax cuts, allowing business associations to buy health care in bulk and the opioid crisis.

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta found a savvy way to relate to young adults steeped in their cellphones’ instant access culture.

“Dog walking was safe pretty much for centuries,” he said, until the dog-walking app Rover hit the market. Then some cities moved toward licensing. “Why are they doing this?” Acosta argued that public servants should not restrict innovation.

Top presidential aide and elder daughter Ivanka Trump shared Acosta’s approach. “It really is remarkable how insane it has become,” she said. “Now one in five professions requires a license.”

She talked about how military spouses are disproportionately disadvantaged as they often have to move to accommodate their partner’s active service. Spouses are especially affected when they work in “highly licensed fields” like teaching. Military spouses have a 16 percent unemployment rate.

According to the Center for Information &Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, 55 percent of young people voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, while 37 percent voted for Trump.

Can the GOP pump up that number?

“The millennial generation on the margin cares less about traditional Republican talking points,” according to Henry Olsen, author of “The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism.” “Talking about taxes and deregulation and religious liberty don’t connect with what they want government to do.”

Contact Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.

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