Trump has been a CPAC regular since making his first appearance there in 2011, years before he became a presidential candidate. During Trump’s White House tenure, the conference was a four-day celebration of his administration, with appearances from Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and other top advisers.
Since leaving office, Trump has given several TV interviews on friendly outlets and released public statements, but has yet to speak before an audience. It will be Trump’s first major address since the Senate impeachment trial that focused on his role in the Jan. 6 riot.
It will also be the first time Trump has spoken out after he released a scathing multi-page statement going after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Trump’s statement — which came after McConnell savaged the former president’s role in the Capitol insurrection — called the minority leader “a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.”
Trump is expected to play an active role in the 2022 midterm elections and has privately told people in recent days that he is weighing a 2024 comeback bid.
Trump advisers say the former president is trying to determine exactly how he will engage in the midterms, including from a financial perspective. Trump has so far endorsed one 2022 candidate: Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is running for Arkansas governor and is slated to appear at CPAC.
CPAC is overseen by longtime Republican strategist Matt Schlapp, whose wife, Mercedes, served as a Trump White House official.
This year’s conference is drawing a slew of potential Republican presidential candidates including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, South Dakota Sen. Kristi Noem, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Rick Scott.