Former President Donald Trump will close the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a “serious” but “fun” speech on Saturday.
CPAC — a four-day event held in National Harbor, Maryland – began Wednesday. It is known as the largest gathering of influential conservatives and activists.
Being early yet in the political calendar, only three declared candidates for President will be in attendance – Trump, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Haley will speak just after noon on Friday, roughly one hour after the former President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., delivers a speech. Ramaswamy will speak later that day. Trump’s speech will be delivered on the evening of March 4th.
“We’re going to be talking about very serious subjects, but we’ll have some fun doing it,” Trump said in a promotional video for CPAC.
For decades, the Conservative Political Action Conference occupied a center ring in Republican politics. At the annual conference this week, conservative celebrities will attend, as will Donald Trump, but many possible 2024 rivals are skipping it. https://t.co/7aF4DpB5UN
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 1, 2023
RELATED: Trump: ‘I’d Beat’ Ron DeSantis If I Run in 2024
Trump to Attend CPAC, DeSantis Will Not
Noticeably absent from this year’s CPAC event will be two other unannounced but likely contenders for the GOP nomination in 2024 – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
DeSantis and Pence are both expected to attend a closed-door retreat for donors hosted by The Club For Growth in Florida.
Trump, however, was not invited to the competing event in Florida. The group has been trying to distance itself from the former President while the feeling for Trump has been mutual.
Haley and Ramaswamy are the only two contenders attending both events, which will be held during the same timeframe.
“There is another elephant, but this one will not be in the room. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, viewed as Trump’s most potent competitor if he enters the race, will not be attending this year’s CPAC. “https://t.co/yKJBp5rx4v pic.twitter.com/daktEyjkVa
— Jeff Charles, A Respectful Anarchist🏴 (@jeffcharlesjr) March 1, 2023
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RELATED: Trump Easily Wins CPAC Straw Poll – Warns Biden Bringing America ‘To the Brink of Ruin’ In Fiery Speech
Trump Hasn’t Always Been a Fan
It’s quite the turnaround to see Trump become a staple figure at CPAC while others give it a tepid response.
In a 2015 speech, Trump earned some jeers from the crowd for proposing using ground troops to combat ISIS.
In 2016, he famously bowed out choosing to campaign instead as controversy swirled over his allotted speaking time as well as a potentially planned walkout during his speech.
CPAC would call him out on social media.
Very disappointed @realDonaldTrump has decided at the last minute to drop out of #CPAC — his choice sends a clear message to conservatives.
— CPAC (@CPAC) March 4, 2016
Make no mistake though, Trump has been a stalwart of the CPAC event since then and delivered some very entertaining speeches. There is little doubt he will continue that trend on Saturday.
During CPAC 2021, Trump hammered President Biden over the humanitarian crisis at the southern border as well as his soft-on-crime policies.
“We deported criminal aliens by the thousands… and we built almost 500 miles of the border wall,” Trump declared. “Now the Biden administration has turned the border into the single greatest disaster in American history.”
“The Democrats know their policies on crime are so unpopular, so radical, and so crazy, they are now trying to pretend they never led the defund the police movement in the first place,” he added.
Fast forward to 2023 and both problems have grown exponentially worse.
“In a matter of mere months Joe Biden has brought our country to the brink of ruin”- Donald Trump at CPAC
Between Biden’s open border policy, the welcoming of Marxism & American hatred Trump is NOT wrong!
— The Conservative Read🇺🇸 (@theconread) July 11, 2021
DeSantis for his part delivered a speech to CPAC that year that had him firmly aligning himself with the former President against the old GOP guard in the party’s ongoing civil war.
“We cannot, we will not, go back to the days of the failed Republican establishment of yesteryear,” DeSantis told the conservative attendees.
“We reject open borders and instead support American sovereignty and the American worker,” he continued in a speech practically ripped from the Trump playbook. “Building a movement on amnesty and cheap foreign labor is like building a house on a field of quicksand.”
Governor DeSantis opening CPAC this morning: “Welcome to the oasis of freedom!”
“Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong!”#jaxpol #flapol pic.twitter.com/vB1rbjJZJL
— Republican Party of Duval County (@DuvalGOP) February 26, 2021
Now, the two are political adversaries. Which needs to change.
This reminds me of the famous words from the late ‘happy warrior’ Andrew Breitbart, a media icon, and somebody who fought the conservative fight with a rare combination of charisma, energy, and love of country.
In looking back on the memories Breitbart left us with, one speech from CPAC 2012 stands out, particularly at a time when conservatives are torn between particular candidates, voicing absolutism that their choice is the only one they’d ever consider voting for.
In 2012, Breitbart encouraged conservatives to get behind the Republican candidate no matter who is chosen.
“Anyone that’s willing to stand next to me to fight the progressive left, I will be in that bunker,” Breitbart told the crowd.
“And if you’re not in that bunker because you’re not satisfied with [a certain] candidate, more than shame on you!” he added. “You’re on the other side!”
A Trump/DeSantis ticket would likely obliterate President Biden in the 2024 presidential election. Even if they can’t personally rally around each other, their voters must in order to fight the progressive left.
Whose side will you be on?
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Agree. CPAC dates are announced well ahead of time. Their scheduling was deliberate and separates the real conservatives from those pretending to be conservative while cozying up to the RINO establishment. Enough said.
Going head-to-head with Trump is a surefire way to look stupid and weak.
He is the master of rhetoric. If you actually analyse what he says from the text, he is an idiot, but he gets the crowd on its’ feet and on his side with a performance that is breathtaking.
If he had gone into the Evangelical circus, he would be the second coming, fortunately he just made a lot of money from the millions that his father gave him.
His only value as a politician is that he is 10,000% better than any of the swine in Congress or even looking to get into Congress, now that Tulsi has left the building.
It’s not time for Governor DeSantis. I stand with President Trump. He has the gonads to stand up to the destruction the DemocRats are doing to this wonderful country of ours. Go President Trump.
I’ve been saying for months now, that Trump and DeSantis need to bury the Hatchet ( just words not really ) and work together. Although us here in Fla would be sad to see DeSantis leave, he and Trump maybe the only way to save the country. ( Just think of 4 years of the two of them. Then 8 more years with DeSantis ) in the time the 2 of them can serve, they may be able to empty the Swamp, and destroy the Socialist agenda , once and for all. Restoring The US into the Constitutional Republic that the founders of this nation envisioned
Those not attending are scared that they may lose some backing.