CPAC 2021 Approaches With Trump as Possible Speaker

February 18, 2021 Updated: February 25, 2021

Former President Donald Trump has been invited to speak to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida next week, though it is not clear whether he has accepted the invitation.

American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp, who helps run the conference, said he extended the invitation himself.

“I’d love to see him come to CPAC,” Schlapp told the Washington Examiner.

An official close to the planning process told The Epoch Times that Trump was invited last year.

Trump told attendees during his speech at the 2020 conference: “God bless you. God bless America. And we will see you next year.”

The official said planners don’t know whether Trump is planning to attend. “We’re in sort of a wait and see moment,” the official said.

Trump’s team didn’t return an inquiry.

Schlapp said he hopes having Trump speak will work out.

“I’ve always had good relations with him, we’ve always talked, and I hope we can make it work,” he said. “I think he deserves to be heard. I think even people who disagree with him will agree that he deserves to be heard. He should be uncanceled.”

A social media post promoting the conference showed a picture of Trump.

Top conservatives regularly appear at the conference, which will take place in Orlando.

President Donald Trump speaks at the CPAC convention in National Harbor
President Donald Trump speaks at the CPAC convention in National Harbor, Md., on March 2, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

The venue is a change from the traditional Washington scene.

“We’re swapping D.C. lockdowns for sunshine and freedom,” CPAC said in a previous tweet. Schlapp said via Twitter that the conference “will be the place to be as conservatives plot, plan, and unite to defeat socialism in America.”

Scheduled speakers include a number of officials from Trump’s administration, including former Housing Secretary Ben Carson, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump allies like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and former acting national security adviser Richard Grenell are also slated to speak.

Lawmakers on the program include Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Rep Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

CPAC describes itself as the largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world.

Trump lay low after leaving the White House last month as the Senate mulled whether to convict or acquit him on a charge of inciting an insurrection. Some lawmakers, primarily Democrats, believed Trump sparked the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol, while defenders pointed out that Trump encouraged supporters in a speech that day to go to the Capitol but to do it “peacefully and patriotically.”

Trump was acquitted, with 43 Republicans siding with him and seven against him.

Trump thanked lawmakers for acquitting him before criticizing the top Republican in Congress, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who gave a scathing floor speech condemning the former president.

Trump said the GOP “can never again be respected or strong with political ‘leaders’ like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm” and said he would focus on backing “primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First.”

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