Who’s speaking at CPAC? All the scheduled presenters

Star guests at right-wing event include Donald Trump, Liz Truss and Javier Milei

Joe Sommerlad
Saturday 24 February 2024 13:00 GMT
Donald Trump kisses and fondles the flag at CPAC, a signature gesture the home crowd have come to expect

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) returns once more this week for another serving of Republican grandstanding, grievance-airing and merchandise shilling.

The four-day event that bills itself as the “largest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world” kicked off at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington DC, on Wednesday 21 February and runs until Saturday 24 February.

Brace yourselves libs, you’re about to get well and truly owned.

The fantasy attempt by House Republicans to impeach President Joe Biden – who they claim to be both a criminal mastermind and profoundly senile – the state of the US southern border, wokery and adjacent culture war evils are all likely to be recurrent themes at a gathering that was once closely aligned with Ronald Reagan but is now unquestionably an all-Donald Trump affair.

Mr Trump will be the headliner once again on Saturday, where he is likely to spend his time trashing Nikki Haley, his last remaining challenger for the GOP presidential nomination, before departing in a hurry for South Carolina, which is holding its primary that same day.

Ms Haley is conspicuous by her absence from CPAC this time around, having spoken at the same event a year ago, no doubt a reaction to her decision to run as an anti-Trump candidate in the primaries.

Other MAGA favourites scheduled to address attendees this week include two possible Trump running mates, Elise Stefanik and Kristi Noem, his daughter-in-law Lara Trump (vying to be the Republican National Committee’s new co-chair), his former housing secretary Dr Ben Carson, senators JD Vance and Tommy Tuberville, representatives Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, MyPillow eccentric Mike Lindell plus Tulsi Gabbard and Steve Bannon.

The keynote speaker at the annual dinner honouring President Reagan will be failed presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who will be joined by deposed Catholic bishop Joseph Strickland.

As The Independent’s Eric Garcia observes, Mr Ramaswamy’s invitation to take that slot reveals how far CPAC has changed over the last decade, given that the entrepreneur has been critical of Ukraine whereas Reagan defined himself by opposition to Russia in the late Cold War era and called the Soviet Union “an evil empire”.

A number of popular conservative media personalities will also be in attendance, including Jack Posobiec, Mark Levin, Megyn Kelly and Sebastian Gorka, the alt-right’s answer to Frasier Crane.

Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, who indicted Mr Trump and 18 co-defendants on racketeering charges, will not be there, the hosts joke.

Two lively British imports will make an appearance: right-wing crowd favourite Nigel Farage and Liz Truss, the UK’s shortest-lived prime minister – who will likely seek to explain why being drummed out of Downing Street after just 44 days in power and outlasted by a wilting lettuce was somehow not her fault and really the work of a mysterious cabal of “anti-growth” occultists and civil service saboteurs, or something.

But perhaps most fascinating of all will be Argentina’s mutton-chopped, chainsaw-wielding new President Javier Milei, whom CPAC chair Matt Schlapp has said “captured the spirit of those who see the treachery of globalist elites” and left “American patriots… rooting for him to succeed”.

Patricia Bullrich, the same country’s minister of national security, is also set to speak, as is Nayib Bukele, the president of El Salvador.

The Latin American trio are following in the footsteps of disgraced former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, “the Trump of the tropics”, who was last year’s guest.

You can see the complete lineup of CPAC 2024 speakers here.

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