Trump Heads to CPAC While DeSantis, Pence Decide to Skip it

Former President Donald Trump will close the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) with a "serious" but "fun" speech on Saturday.
Custom: Screenshots - WFAA and News `9 WLTX YouTube Channels

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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?

Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
The Political Insider ranks #3 on Feedspot’s “100 Best Political Blogs and Websites.”

Rusty Weiss has been covering politics for over 15 years. His writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, Fox... More about Rusty Weiss

Mentioned in this article::