Trump returns with a flourish to CPAC, where all voices echo his

Grant Boone
February 27, 2021

Donald Trump is prepared to further push claims he is the true victor of the 2020 election during his CPAC speech on Sunday as he plans to use his first public appearance since leaving office to springboard himself back into the political limelight.

The conference, held in Orlando because organizers weren't able to secure a permit at its usual Maryland location due to coronavirus restrictions, featured a motley crew of right-wing icons for the first major event of the four-day conservative love-fest.

But Trump is a singular force who maintains a vice grip on the Republican base, and all eyes will be on the 74-year-old showman when he addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and teases attendees about his political future. "But knowing what's going to happen this weekend at CPAC, I must bring this up".

Mr Trump Jnr labelled Ms Cheney, the third ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, a "RINO", meaning "Republican in name only" saying her brand of politics produced "the kinds of policies that put the Republican Party in a position where they needed a Donald Trump".

CPAC is an event organized by the American Conservative Union, whose chairman, Matt Schlapp, is close to Trump. It is a prime venue for speakers who want to gauge interest in whether they should run for president based on the enthusiasm they generate.

"I've been clear in my views about President Trump and the extent to which following January 6 I don't believe he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country".

Presidential candidates usually never announce a run this early, but Mr Trump has hardly sought to follow typical conventions of political behaviour.

Several potential White House hopefuls - including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Senator Josh Hawley - will address CPAC, which may make for awkward presentations to a crowd still in Trump's thrall.

Trump on Sunday will be making his first post-presidential appearance at the conference, and aides say he will use the speech to reassert his power.


Donald Trump kisses the American flag at last year's CPAC.

Another panel called "Other Culprits: Why Judges & Media Refused to Look at the Evidence" features Alabama Representative Mo Brooks, who led the charge by far-right members of Congress in objecting when Congress moved to certify the Electoral College votes last month.

Then on Sunday morning, speakers will talk about the "Failed States" of Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania, all of which narrowly voted for Joe Biden.

He attended the conference every year he served as president.

Reporters used the opportunity to ask if leaders thought Trump should take the spotlight just two months after his supporters launched a deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol to press the former president's false claim that his election defeat was the result of widespread fraud. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and others worry Trump will undermine the party's political future if he and his conspiracy theories continue to dominate Republican politics.

The theme of the event is "America Uncanceled", but already one guest has been uninvited for his hateful views.

Both have previously been mainstays of the conference.

"We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that have no home with our conference or our organisation", CPAC said in a statement.

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