CPAC: Trump to deliver first speech after right-wing White House summit
The conference seeks to solidify Trump’s position as a Republican standard-bearer even after losing the presidency and Congress Donald Trump speaks at the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Photograph: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images Sign up for the Guardian’s First Thing newsletter Donald Trump returns to the political scene on Sunday determined to show he is still a major force in America and ready to purge his critics within the party republican. In his first post-presidential speech, Trump will address the largest annual gathering of grassroots conservatives in Orlando, Florida, immediately after a poll is expected to show he is most participants’ first choice for the nomination. Republican in 2024. “We’re looking to Sunday,” Trump’s son Don Jr told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “I imagine it won’t be what we call a low energy speech, and I assure you that it will solidify Donald Trump and all your feelings about the Maga. [Make America great again] movement as the future of the Republican Party. CPAC has always offered insight into tectonic plates moving under the Conservative movement. In 2009, the conference disowned the presidency of George W. Bush, which had led to the war in Iraq and ended in financial catastrophe. In 2016 he was suspicious of Trump, who had canceled his speech, but a year later he had fully embraced him and his administration. In 2021, the conference seems to provide proof that the Republican Party is no longer part of the political stream but has turned to extreme right-wing extremism. Speakers raged against “the culture of cancellation”, radical socialism and “big tech companies” while pushing Trump’s false claims about voter fraud and denying he was guilty of the insurgency that followed to the United States Capitol. Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, who was one of seven GOP senators to vote to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, for inciting the deadly insurgency on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, told CNN Sunday morning he didn’t think so. Trump is said to be the party’s 2024 presidential candidate. “If we idolize a person, we will lose,” he warned. Conservative Fox News has predicted Trump would declare Biden’s new presidency the most disastrous in his first month in modern history. New: Former President Trump will mention President Biden by name in his CPAC address this afternoon. Trump is expected to tell FOX, “Joe Biden has had the most disastrous first month of any president in modern history …” – Mark Meredith (@markpmeredith) February 28, 2021 Meanwhile, CPAC is working doubly hard to solidify Trump’s position as a Republican standard-bearer even after losing the trio of the White House, House of Representatives and Senate and being impeached twice. Matt Schlapp, president of the Conservative Union of America, which heads CPAC, told the Washington Post: “Even though Donald Trump is a one-term president, Republicans feel he has been hugely successful. A statue of Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida on February 26, 2021. Photograph: Octavio Jones / Reuters “That doesn’t mean that every moment of every day, of every cycle of information, was nice. What that means is that from a political standpoint, he basically checked off the list of things he said he would do. The cult of personality manifested itself in Trump’s stickers, hats, T-shirts, face masks and other merchandise with slogans such as “Trump 2024” and “Miss me yet?”, As well as a giant statue of gold color of the 45th President wearing a Stars-and-Stripes jacket, red tie and boxing shorts and wielding a starry wand. Speaker after speaker has ostensibly pledged their loyalty, implying that genius cannot be put back in the bottle. Ted Cruz, a Republican senator from Texas, told attendees on Friday: “Let me tell you something: Donald Trump is not going anywhere.” The posture allowed Trump’s small band of enemies within the Republican Party to be the target of criticism just as much as election winner Joe Biden. Trump Jr has warned against reverting to a vested interest former Republican Party by naming Liz Cheney, the daughter of Bush Vice President Dick Cheney and House Republican No.3. Cheney voted to impeach Trump after the Jan.6 uprising on Capitol Hill and criticized his plan to appear at CPAC. Cheney, said Trump Jr, “is the leader of this failed movement and, if we want to go back to defeat, if we want to go back to a ‘last America’ policy, we should follow it,” did he declare. “But I don’t, and I don’t think anyone in this room does either.” Matt Gaetz, a congressman from Florida who organized a rally in the home state of Cheney, Wyoming, to demand his resignation, said, “If Liz Cheney was on this stage today, she s ‘would make you boo! ” He continued, “The leadership of our party is not in Washington DC. You are the energy, we are America, which is why they are within eight square miles of Washington DC, and we are here in the sunny state of Florida. Florida is also now Trump’s home. Many CPACs have promoted Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, arguing that they warranted further restrictions on voting. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri proudly defended his vote to challenge the Electoral College result just hours after the insurgency. Josh Hawley of Missouri speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Photograph: Joe Skipper / Reuters “I was called a traitor,” he recalls with a loud ovation. “I was called a seditionist. The radical left said… I should be kicked out of the United States Senate. Well, like I said awhile ago, I’m not going anywhere. I stay here. I will defend you. Mike Pence, the former vice president targeted by the pro-Trump mob on Jan.6, declined an invitation, though organizers insist he remains on good terms with his former boss. Also has no sign of Cheney, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, or former presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But whether Trump, 74, can or will run in 2024 remains far from certain. This week, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York City took possession of eight years of his tax returns and other financial data as it investigated his business empire. Joe Walsh, a Trump critic and former Republican congressman predicted an overwhelming reception for him on Sunday, but said of 2024: “I think he’ll chain everyone up. It all depends on his health. Is he in jail? Is he in debt? ‘a billion dollars? But assuming he’s not charged, if he wants to show up r is his. I don’t think a Republican will challenge him.