An adviser to former President Donald Trump disputed a report claiming the former commander-in-chief told advisers that he would not speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Florida if former Vice President Mike Pence attended.
The Washington Examiner, which cited alleged anonymous sources for its claims, said Trump told friends that if Pence showed up to the event, he wouldn’t attend. “As far as Trump is concerned, there is no way back for Pence,” the Examiner quoted “a source close to the president” as saying, adding that “Trump did not want to share a stage with his former deputy.”
But Trump advisor Jason Miller wrote on Twitter Monday that “[the Examiner] story is patently false, and these ‘anonymously sourced’ attacks designed to create division are why people distrust the media.”
“No such demand or request was ever made by President Trump, and in fact, President Trump and Vice President Pence had a great call last week!” he wrote.
But Pence, for his part, will not attend the event, which is slated to run from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28 in Orlando, Florida, according to CPAC’s organizer Matt Schlapp.
“I’m going to encourage him to come,” he said, saying Pence declined an offer. “I think the conservative movement and the conservative community want to hear from its leaders and wants to hear from people who want to lead it in the future. That all starts on Friday in Orlando.”
“We are pleased that the president will be joining us, and we’re disappointed the vice president’s not coming. We think it’s a mistake for him not to come. We conservatives think of Vice President Pence with great honor and dignity. He is a real champion of conservatism,” Conservative Political Action Conference Executive Director Dan Schneider also told MSNBC on Sunday. Schneider said that Pence has likely spoken at CPAC more than a dozen times over the years. And this year, if Pence attended, he would be “greeted very warmly,” he said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Az.), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and others are also slated to speak during the event.
Last year, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was told not to attend the event.
Recent polls have suggested that Trump enjoys heavy support among Republicans. A recent poll found that twice as many GOP voters found Trump to be the “best ever” president over former President Ronald Reagan.