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Who is speaking at CPAC and when?

Conservatives descend on National Harbor for multi-day convention

John Bowden
Washington DC
Friday 03 March 2023 14:25 GMT
Bryan Cranston says 'Make America Great Again' is racist slogan

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is returning to the DC area as the 2024 primary contest begins to heat up with the announcements of Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, the first official contenders.

From Wednesday through Saturday, some of the nation’s most prominent Republicans will address audiences of young activists, party officials, and veteran operatives as they make their respective cases for their own personal brands of conservatism.

Just as notable as those attending the event, however, is the list of those who declined invitations: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, thought to be one of the strongest potential 2024 GOP primary candidates, will not be attending while former Vice President Mike Pence, also thought to be readying a 2024 bid, has spurned the gathering.

But while the former president is no longer in office and has no official position within the GOP, the four-day event remains notably Trump-themed, with one event even borrowing a name from Mr Trump’s memoir, The Art of the Deal.

Let’s take a look at the most notable conservatives set to attend CPAC 2023:

Donald Trump

Donald Trump obviously remains the biggest draw in terms of high-profile conservatives at this week’s event. Set to deliver a headline address on Saturday evening, the former president will make his case for the GOP putting its support behind him a third time — or, more likely, he will seek to trash and denigrate his rivals, both actual and potential.

Mr Trump has delivered addresses at several CPAC gatherings and the event has moulded itself around him as he has become the de facto leader of the GOP over the past half decade.

Nikki Haley

The other announced 2024 candidate for the Republican Party with any national prominence, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley will have her first chance to speak to a large conservative audience since launching her campaign earlier in February.

She’ll speak Friday evening, one night before her primary rival (and former boss) Donald Trump.

Mike Pompeo

The former secretary of State under Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo is not yet officially running for president. But he has been showing all the signs for months, and his speech this week will likely serve as a de facto pitch for his own bid alongside those of Ms Haley and Mr Trump.

Mr Pompeo will speak on Thursday, the only 2024 prospect scheduled to speak that day.

Ted Cruz

Still working to keep his national brand alive after a failed bid for the presidency in 2016, Sen Ted Cruz will host a live taping of his podcast The Verdict on Thursday.

Expect him to wade in to as many culture war topics as he can in a 25-minute timeslot.

Marjorie Taylor Greene

The firebrand conservative congresswoman will be one of CPAC’s featured speakers this year after previously facing controversy for appearing at an “alternative CPAC” hosted by white nationalist Nick Fuentes in years past. It’s a sign of just how far to the right the GOP and its activist base has shifted in just a few short years.

She’ll speak on Friday for just 10 minutes.

JD Vance

The newly-elected senator from Ohio has a position of distinction at this year’s CPAC: he is the only US Senate candidate to win an open or competitive seat in the 2022 cycle who received Donald Trump’s endorsement — others, like Herschel Walker and Dr Mehmet Oz, crashed and burned.

Mr Vance will speak on Thursday.

Jair Bolsonaro

The former president of Brazil who may or may not be evading the prospect of criminal charges stemming from four separate probes by absconding to America after his tenure as president of ended, Jair Bolsonaro is set to address CPAC on Saturday, just hours before his ally Donald Trump.

Elise Stefanik

Ms Stefanik won her seat as chair of the House Republican conference after ousting Liz Cheney from the job over the latter’s refusal to support Donald Trump after January 6.

Her other reward appears to have been newfound credibility among the far right, and a speaking slot on the final day of CPAC just ahead of Mr Trump himself.

Rick Scott

The upstart Florida senator is not going away quietly after being dropped from the powerful Senate Commerce Committee by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, which Mr Scott says was revenge for a leadership challenge to Mr McConnell last year.

Mr Scott will speak on Thursday, just days after his campaign issued a fundraising plea naming Mr McConnell specifically and vowing to continue resisting leadership.

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