On Friday, February 26th, elected conservative officials, conversative personalities, and headline speaker former President Trump attended the CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).
The conference was held in Orlando Florida; ordinarily it is held in Maryland. Mike Pence and Nikki Haley were notable absentees. The Chairman of the American Conservative Union, Matt Schlapp, was very vocal towards the state governor who cancelled the event. “That state decided to cancel us because they said it was unsafe,” Schlapp said. “And I said to myself, I’ll be damned if I’ll be the first ACU chairman in 50 years not to have a CPAC.” Organizers of the CPAC were met with hostility when they pleaded with attendees to wear masks. When Dan Schneider and Carly Patrick asked the crowd to wear masks they were met with a response of “freedom.”
Governor Ron DeSantis also used his platform to praise his own record and take aim at the states who enforced a lockdown. “For those of you who aren’t from Florida, welcome to our oasis for freedom. We are an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering in many parts of the country under the yoke of oppressive lockdowns.” DeSantis went on to note that all schools in Florida are open. “Florida got it right and the lockdown dates got it wrong,” DeSantis added.
Both Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Donald Trump Jr took jabs at Liz Cheney. “If Liz Cheney were on this stage today, she’d get booed off of it. What does that say? The leadership of our party is not found in Washington DC.” Matt Gaetz said Donald Trump Jr echoed the sentiments of Matt Gaetz. “She hates Trump and his policies… because she’s tied to an establishment that has done nothing but fail us time and time again.” The CPAC also presented an opportunity for two pro-Trump candidates to lay the foundations for their own path to The White House. Josh Hawley steadfastly said that he would stand up to anyone who tries to “cancel me, censor me, expel me, shut me down, stop me from representing voters” from Missouri.
Ted Cruz also took the stage to praise the Republican Party’s direction under Donald Trump. “The Republican Party is not the party just of the country clubs – the Republican Party is the party of steel workers and construction workers and pipeline workers and taxicab drivers and cops and firefighters and waiters and waitresses and the men and women with calluses on their hands, who are working for this country,” he said. “That is our party, and these deplorables are here to stay!”
Donald Trump has kept a low profile since leaving office and his speech at CPAC was his first major speech since leaving The White House. Trump did say he is open to running for President again, this option remains open as he was acquitted by the senate in his second impeachment hearing. Trump did, however, throw cold water on the idea of starting a new party. “We’re not starting new parties. They kept saying, ‘He’s going to start a new party!’ We have the Republican Party! It’s going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party. That was fake news,” Trump said. “Wouldn’t that be brilliant? Let’s start a new party and let’s divide our vote, so that you can never win… No, we’re not interested in that.”
Trump also took aim at President Biden calling him “low energy” and stated the has been “triggering a massive flood of illegal immigration into our country.” The crowd chanted “USA USA” during Trump’s speech. A straw poll was done of CPAC attendees, 68% want Trump to run again and 55% said they would vote for him over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Governor Kristie Noem. Trump’s ended his speech by thanking several people and promised that bigger and better was still to come. “The future belongs to all of you. And America is coming about, and it’s coming back, and it’s roaring and you can hear it. It’s going to be bigger and better. It is going to be — it is going to be — remember and it’s roaring. It’s going to be bigger and better and stronger than ever before.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BALTIMORE SUN