(NewsNation Now) — With the White House Briefing Room overtaken by the Biden administration and his Twitter account on permanent lockdown, former President Donald Trump has been relatively quiet in the month since his departure from the Oval Office. That could change Sunday.
The 45th president is due to speak this weekend at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, more commonly known as CPAC. The annual three-day summit of conservatism is already underway, but you have to scroll all the way to the end of the CPAC agenda to find Trump, who is set to close out the event with the final address. He is scheduled to take the stage at 3:40 p.m. EST on Sunday.
“Donald J. Trump ain’t going anywhere,” said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, one of several potential 2024 presidential contenders who spoke at the event, being held this year in Orlando.
The conference marks the first significant gathering of Republicans since the election and its aftermath as the party reckons with the faction that continues to support Trump as its leader and those who think the GOP needs to move quickly beyond the turbulent era of his presidency. Conference organizers, representing the first camp, did not invite any of the 17 Republican members of Congress who voted to support Trump’s second impeachment or any major Trump critics.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a regular at the annual conference, will not be on the program after publicly chastising Trump for inciting last month’s deadly insurrection at the Capitol.
“We will not win the future by trying to go back to where the Republican Party used to be,” echoed Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who chairs the fundraising committee tasked with electing Republicans to the Senate. “If we do, we will lose the working base that President Trump so animated. We’re going to lose elections across the country, and ultimately we’re going to lose our nation.”
Scott is dismissing pressure on him to “mediate between warring factions on the right” or “mediate the war of words between the party leaders.” He has refused to take sides in the bitter ongoing fight between Trump and McConnell.
Trump is expected to use his speech to assert his standing as the head of the party, as well as to criticize Biden’s first month in office, including the new president’s efforts to undo Trump’s immigration policies.
“I think the broader point will be: Here’s where the Republican Party and conservative movement and the America First movement goes from here,” senior Trump adviser Jason Miller told the Associated Press. “In many ways, this will be a throwback to 2016, where the president ran against Washington. Here we’ll see the president address the fact that the only divide in the Republican Party is between the elites and the conservative grassroots in the party.”
Trump has begun to wade back into the public, calling into some news outlets after the death of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and after golfer Tiger Woods’ serious car accident. His aides have been meeting this week to set benchmarks for fundraising and organization for candidates seeking his endorsement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.