“Join us for a terrific weekend of poker, politics, and policy at the fabulous Venetian Resort and Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada!” the RJC website reads.
The meeting was a chance for Republican politicians looking for funding to get together with heavyweight campaign contributors like Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire owner of the Venetian who is looking to back a mainstream Republican candidate who can win in 2016, according to the Washington Post.
The RJC’s meeting brought out an impressive cast of Republicans, including Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker and John Kasich, who all gave speeches that were open to the press.
However, the RJC’s Spring Leadership Meeting keynote address, delivered by former Vice President Dick Cheney, was not open to the press.
Despite Cheney’s keynote speech being private, Mother Jones managed to obtain a recording of the off-limits address. According to Mother Jones, Cheney’s speech takes several shots at Obama, calling the president a weak commander-in-chief who fails to project strength at home and abroad, and claiming that Obama’s duty as President to protect America from all enemies, foreign and domestic, “is not being pursued in any kind of coherent manner."
Cheney goes on to criticize what he refers to as an “increasing strain of isolationism” in his own party, “a body of thought now that's supported by many Republicans and some candidates that the United States can afford to turn its back on that part of the world”, complaining about Republicans that think it is a good idea to bring troops home, saying, "anybody who thinks back on the problems of 9/11" knows "it makes absolutely no sense at all for us to contemplate that course of action."
Cheney then defends the NSA, people believe “that we have created in the National Security Agency this monster bureaucracy that's reading everybody's mail, listening to everybody's phone calls, infringing upon our civil liberties and civil rights. Hogwash."
Despite an internal audit and a FISA court both finding the NSA illegally spied on people—as the Washington post reported—Cheney claimed there hasn’t been a single case of NSA abusing its authority, saying if the programs had been in place earlier, “it probably would've allowed us to stop 9/11."
Cheney then blamed Obama for failing to win-over public approval of the NSA’s spying program and snuck in a quip about Obamacare.
“We don't have a president who can stand up and defend the program. Nobody believes him -- for good reason. Look what he did with health care."