Trump to speak at CPAC in first post-White House appearance as Republicans looks to 2024

Politics

FLORIDA (NewsNation Now) — Donald Trump will be making his first post-presidential appearance at a conservative gathering in Florida this weekend as the Republican Party weighs what it will look going forward.

Ian Walters, a spokesperson for the American Conservative Union, confirmed that Trump will be speaking at the group’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 28.

Trump is expected to use the speech to talk about the future of the Republican Party and the conservative moment, as well as to criticize President Joe Biden’s efforts to undo his immigration policies, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans.

American Conservative Union Chair Matt Schlapp says there is still strong support for former President Trump in the party.

“Donald Trump wanted to come back. Part of that is because he might himself make a comeback,” said Schalpp.

CPAC is being held this year in Orlando, Florida, and will feature a slew of former Trump administration officials and others who represent his wing of the GOP, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Republicans continue to debate the future of the Republican Party with some aligning with the former president and others wanting the GOP to embrace new leadership.

The divide was made evident in remarks made recently by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and his third-in-command Rep. Liz Cheney. McCarthy has been vocal with his support for Trump while Cheney voted to impeach the former President over his rhetoric before the Capitol riot.

McCarthy said he supported the former president speaking at CPAC. Cheney said it was up to CPAC and she has been clear on her views that Trump should not have a role in the future of the party.

Former presidential candidate Evan McMullin says he thinks a 1/4th to a 1/3rd of the Republican party is on Cheney’s side of the debate. He also expressed concern about the party’s continuing loyalty to the former president.

“I I think that’s what you’re seeing is a continuation of that represented in the programming and the speakers and the messaging coming out of CPAC,” said McMullin.

Schlapp disagrees that the party wants to move away from Trump especially given the results of the 2020 election.

“If Donald Trump was this failure at the ballot box, I don’t think people would be pining for him,” said Schalpp.

He thinks if Trump does run in 2024, there is an overwhelming chance he will get the nomination.

Trump has been keeping a relatively low profile since he retired from the White House to Palm Beach, Florida, in January, but reemerged recently to conduct a series of phone-in interviews to commemorate the death of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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