The Conservative Political Action Conference kicks off at 7 a.m. on Thursday with a Catholic mass by Father Frank Pavone, a pro-life/anti-abortion activist and national director of Priests for Life. It wraps up Sunday afternoon with a speech by Donald Trump Jr., and a musical performance by Lee Greenwood, best known for the song “God Bless the U.S.A.”
In between are speeches by the biggest newsmakers of conservative thought and Republican politics. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis will speak Thursday afternoon. DeSantis currently seeks to hold onto his job as governor and has said repeatedly that he’s not considering a run for the White House. Former President Trump, who has hinted multiple times at running again in the 2024 presidential election, is scheduled to take the CPAC stage Saturday evening.
For months now, rumors have swirled that the two may end up on the same Presidential ticket in 2024. Alternatively, analysts have suggested that the two are feuding.
A rift between them is something both men have publicly and vehemently denied, with Trump referring to the great value he places on his friendship with DeSantis, and DeSantis calling the gossip “total bunk.”
And while it’s not out of the realm of possibility that, eventually, the two both could announce a bid for the Presidency, it’s unlikely that they’ll run as a team, with one in the VP spot, said political analyst Peter J. Bergerson, Ph.D., of Florida Gulf Coast University. Bergerson has spent the last 50 years studying, commenting on and teaching about the politics of the United States and the State of Florida.
The reason they won’t run on the same ticket, he told The Epoch Times, is due to a technicality in the U.S. Constitution. The only remedy would be for one of them to move to another state.
“The President and the Vice President have to be from different states, according to the Constitution,” Bergerson said. “A little interesting tidbit from 2000, when George Bush ran with Cheney, also from Texas. Cheney was in charge of the selection committee of who might be George’s running mate. He, of course, chose himself. But he quietly flew to Wyoming and changed his voter registration from from Texas to Wyoming, because of that Constitutional provision.”
Bush and Cheney went on to win, and serve as President and Vice President from Jan. 20, 2001, to Jan. 20, 2009. Cheney’s daughter, Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R) is on the outs with the Republican Party, and won’t be a speaker at the event. In early February, the Republican National Committee voted to censure her and her colleague, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), for their participation as the only two Republicans on a House committee investigating the events on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.
This week’s jam-packed schedule in Orlando, instead, includes speeches from GOP darlings such as former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who ignited a crowd of thousands of young conservatives in July at Turning Point USA’s annual Student Action Summit. Also on the agenda are these Republican leaders: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott. The list of speakers includes dozens more politicians, broadcasters, authors, and favorites of the conservative movement, such as Nigel Farage, former European Parliament member and founder of the Brexit Party, as well as retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who served under President Trump as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HHS) after dropping out of the Presidential race against him.
The four-day conference provides access to trainings for would-be political activists and candidates. There will be panel discussions about hot issues, such as the “woke” movement, getting involved politically to affect change, breaking China’s power in America, Jan. 6 allegations and investigations, crime and how it’s being addressed across the country, the creeping-in of communism, immigration concerns, as well as overall criticisms of the policies of the current administration.
Discussions include “Domestic Terrorists Unite: Lessons from Virginia Parents,” “How to Talk to Your Neighbor Without Starting a Backyard Brawl,” “Are You Ready to be Called a Racist: The Courage to Run for Office,” “Why the Working Class Hates the Democrats,” and “Fire Fauci.”
The cost of a ticket to attend all four days is $295; students under 25 pay just $50. One-day entry is available to non-students for $90. Premium tickets with extra benefits went for up to $7,000 each, but are now sold out. Tickets to a black-tie-optional Ronald Reagan Dinner, which honors the GOP icon, are sold out at $375-$1000 a pop. Keynote speaker for that part of the event is Glenn Beck, political commentator, talk-show host, best-selling author, popular speaker and co-founder of Blaze Media. Beck is a collector of rare historical artifacts that he often shows during speaking engagements.
Billed as a special guest at the dinner is 2020 Democrat candidate for President Tulsi Gabbard.
Since 1974, CPAC has attracted up to 18,000 attendees.