While many millennials are often associated with the Democratic party, many have seen the light and gone Republican. One is even a former child actress who joined the Trump White House.
Caroline Sunshine may not be a household name, but to kids who watched the Disney Channel in recent years, she’s a familiar face. From 2010 to 2013, the 22-year-old appeared on the popular show “Shake It Up,” playing foreign exchange student Tinka Hessenheffer opposite actresses Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and Bella Thorne.
Sunshine joined the White House press office this year as an assistant, and had been pretty low-profile until recently, when she appeared at a high school student leadership conference in Washington on behalf of the President.
Despite her celebrity status, she has worked behind a desk in the “lower press” section and spent time escorting reporters.
But on Monday she became the youngest Trump aide to address a four-day conference for conservative high schoolers sponsored by Turning Point USA, which also featured appearances by Kellyanne Conway, Donald Trump Jr., Attorney General Jeff Sessions and even Ken Bone – whose claim to fame was asking a question during the 2016 presidential debates wearing a red sweater.
Sunshine showed up looking more Hollywood than Washington – curled hair, cream cape dress and giant star-shaped earrings – and walked onstage to the sound of teenagers shrieking.
“Wow, look at you, you’re a smart looking bunch,” she cooed.
“And I know that you’re a smart looking bunch because it’s 8 p.m. on Monday and you’re at a leadership conference instead of watching the ‘Bachelorette,’” she said.
“But, you know, to be fair ‘The Bachelorette’ and politics have a lot in common. Lots of men in suits that will tell you anything you want to hear to get what you want,” she joked.
Sunshine has not been active on social media since joining the White House, a practice her boss does not follow at all. However, she did post a tweet back in May hinting at the divide between the media and the White House. When attending the White House Press Correspondents Dinner that month, she wore a dress with newspaper headlines on it. She addressed the significance in the tweet.
May we all cherish the freedom to laugh at, think for, and speak for ourselves. pic.twitter.com/VnzUTHKhdG
— Caroline Sunshine (@CSUNSHINE) May 5, 2018
Her speech to the high school students this past week inspired them to remain active socially and politically.
Sunshine loaded her speech with pop culture references. She didn’t go heavy on the politics, though she found time to praise Trump and the GOP tax cuts. And she kidded about some of backlash she received since taking a job with the administration.
“When I started working at the White House and the news broke my Wikipedia page said ‘Caroline Sunshine is an American actress, dancer, singer, political operative and Satan worshipper,’” she said.
“Which isn’t entirely accurate because I’m also a Virgo,” she said to laughs.
About 700 teenagers attended the summit from around the US. With the youngest voting bloc still trending liberal, Sunshine explained that they’d likely take heat for their conservative political beliefs.
She urged the teenagers to find something to believe in — and stick to it.
“Sometimes that means you’re going to stand alone. It definitely means you’re going to get criticized and it means that you better get comfortable taking a risk and putting yourself out there,” she said.
She encouraged the students to run for Congress, pointing out that there are 535 jobs up on Capitol Hill.
“How many of those seats are held [by people] under the age of 40?” she asked. “If you guessed, ‘not enough,’ ding, ding, ding, you’re correct.”
She also told them it was OK not to have everything figured out.
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