Teenage viral sensation C.J. Peasrson — who became famous for his brash rhetoric blasting President Barack Obama — announced on Friday he would no longer identify as conservative.
In an interview with TheBlaze, C.J. Pearson, who first entered the national media spotlight when his video criticizing Obama went viral in February, said he now identifies more as an independent than a conservative, although he still very much adheres to certain conservative values.
Pearson attributed his decision, at least in part, to seeing the video of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting LaQuan McDonald.
"I'm not interested in being a champion of a cause that turns a blind eye to racial discrimination and police brutality in America," Pearson, 13, said in a statement. "I also don't want to be the 'anti-Obama kid.' I want to be the kid who fought for real change and worked with both sides to achieve a better America."
In an interview with TheBlaze Friday evening, Pearson said he was still fiscally conservative but socially liberal except when it comes to the issue of abortion.
"I'm tired of labels. I'm ready for solutions to the issues facing the American people," Pearson continued.
From endorsing Republican Sen. Rand Paul for president to working on fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign to disavowing conservatism — Pearson told TheBlaze Friday evening that it just might be Sen. Marco Rubio who the viral teenager finally throws his support behind.
"Right now, the best candidate tackling race relations that I, with my beliefs could get behind, is [Florida Sen.] Marco Rubio," Pearson told TheBlaze, adding that he doesn't see himself working for any other campaigns this presidential cycle.
Pearson said that working for Cruz's campaign had nothing to do with his decision to distance himself from the conservative label and admonished that he is "no Jonathan Krohn" — the 13-year-old who spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2009 but denounced conservatism just a few years later while attributing his previous views to his "naivety."
To those who may criticize Pearson for once again changing his mind, Pearson said, "they're smoking too much."
"I have long been a champion of conservative principles," Pearson said. "I've simply decided to remove a label and listen to both sides."