GOP House Candidate Says College Turns Young People Into Leftists Who Hate America

A Republican House candidate claimed Saturday that college education turns young people into “radical, leftist, hating-America atheists.”

“We know how important the youth are to our future because you can raise them the right way. You can work your butts off every day to put food on the table, send them off to college, and then what ends up happening?” said Christian Collins, a Republican candidate for Texas’ 8th Congressional district, at a rally just north of Houston at the Grace Woodlands church.

“They go off to college not knowing what they believe sometimes, and their teachers, their professors, try to deconstruct everything that you’ve taught them. And they go off with the college that you paid for and come out radical, leftist, hating-America atheists, and they don’t have any usable skills to get employed. And then they’re even more cynical.”

Collins has the support of some of the most vocal pro-Trump Republicans in Congress, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), both of whom attended his event. He also has the endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a prominent right-wing conspiracy theorist, also addressed attendees at the event.

Texas’ 8th Congressional district is currently represented by Rep. Kevin Brady (R), who will not seek re-election. Collins has served as a political aide to both Brady and Cruz.

According to Collins’ campaign website, he has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a master’s from Liberty University.

He founded the Texas Youth Summit, which argues on its website that it’s important for young people to learn “conservative principles” because “The Left controls the education system, TV networks, Hollywood, and social media and they are influencing youth.”

In a campaign ad released last year, Collins said his goals include fighting “critical race theory being taught in our schools.”

Republicans across the country over the past year have transformed the academic discipline into a winning, hotbed electoral issue, claiming children are being taught that to be white is to be inherently racist.

In reality, critical race theory is typically studied in graduate or law school and explores how racism is embedded in U.S. legal, social and political institutions.

Many conservatives have conflated the concept with teachings about race, history, diversity and inclusion in schools, and efforts to ban it have been coupled with book bans and other efforts to stifle teachings about historic racism and mistreatment of marginalized groups.

Collins has staked his platform on “fighting for election integrity, working to finish the wall and secure the border, and fighting against the radical indoctrination of our youth and backing pro-America education,” according to Ballotpedia. He’s also vocal about protecting gun rights and ending abortion.

He has embraced conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and criticized mask and vaccine measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Collins is among 11 candidates in the primary, with prominent GOP support split between him and Morgan Luttrell, a former Navy SEAL backed by former Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Houston.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.