Right-wing firebrand Michelle Malkin delivered a fiery speech on immigration in which she slammed moderate Republicans, including the "ghost of John McCain," at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Friday.
Malkin painted immigration, both legal illegal, as an invasion and an existential threat to America. And she did not just blame Democrats for the problem.
"It's the GOP sell-outs, not just the radical, open-borders left, that is in bed with immigration saboteurs," she said. "Like the ones who hijacked the tea party movement to shill for amnesty. Those are the real grifters cashing in and practicing deceit at the expense of their base and at the expense of our country."
Malkin cited a number of immigration policies that she believes demand reform such as granting visas to migrants' family members and the process that allows migrants to apply for asylum or refugee status.
"Both parties are to blame," she said. "And yes, I'm looking at you, retired Paul Ryan, and yes, I'm looking at you, Mitch McConnell," she added, referring to the former Republican House speaker from Wisconsin and the current Senate majority leader from Kentucky.
"And yes, I'm looking at you, Bush family, and yes, I'm looking at you, the ghost of John McCain," she continued with a gesture toward the ceiling. The line drew a standing ovation from the audience.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., died in August from brain cancer. Former President George H.W. Bush died in November. McCain, Bush and former President George W. Bush all advocated a comprehensive immigration approach with increased border security and a path to citizenship for migrants who had already entered the country illegally. Immigration opponent like Malkin deride such a policy as "amnesty" for those migrants' immigration violations.
"How is it that we have Republicans on Capitol Hill that are doing the bidding of the Dreamer movement?" Malkin said of the effort to protect from deportation undocumented migrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors. "What about our dreams?"
Malkin is Asian-American but said she "identifies" as a "proud, unhyphenated, unapologetic, fully assimilated American." She said that critics had called her "white" because of her views.
"I'm not white, I'm just right," Malkin said.
She said that migrant families like hers who "revere the rule of law" are "being replaced by militantly unassimilable and hostile generations" of "future Democrat voters whose tribal allegiance to the left has only hardened over time."
Malkin said that "from the comfort of TV green rooms and Beltway back rooms and corporate board rooms and conference ballrooms, it may not look like civil war is imminent."
But she said conservatives are under attack in what she called the "Disunited States."
"The divide in this country is between decent people, who stand up for America, and dastardly people who want to bring America to its knees," she said.
"Diversity is not our strength – and I know those words are a 'trigger,'" Malkin concluded, echoing a phrase that has been used by controversial figures like Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. "Diversity is not our strength, unity is."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michelle Malkin attacks the 'ghost of John McCain' in immigration talk at CPAC