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What will Trump say in his next public appearance at the conservative CPAC conference?

Former President Trump to speak at Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, in first public appearance since leaving the White House.

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What will Trump say in his next public appearance at the conservative CPAC conference?
OLIVIER DOULIERY AFP

Trump's first public appearance following his departure from the White House last month is expected to be on Sunday 28 February when he will address the CPAC conference as the keynote speaker. This year the event has changed venue from the Washington DC area to avoid stringent covid-19 restrictions and will be held in Orlando, Florida instead.

The speaking engagement comes as Republicans are split over how to treat the former President. Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has called for Trump to be held accountable for the 6 January riot after acquitting the former President in his most recent impeachment. While House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went down to Florida, shortly after Trump left the White House, to discussed strategy for winning the House majority in next year's midterms.

What is Trump expected to say at CPAC?

Trump has been relatively quiet since he left the White House, in no small part thanks to being banned from social media since the insurrectionist riots on 6 January. He has been limited to statements he has released regarding his impeachment acquittal and attacking McConnell for calling for him to be held to account.

He broke that silence last week in his first television interview with one of his new favorite media outlets, Newsmax, an ultra-conservative network. During the interview Trump used his time to attack President Biden for his comments regarding the lack of a vaccination program playbook upon taking office, among other topics. This could give an idea of what viewers can expect when he takes the podium at CPAC.

Additionally, according to reporting from Fox News, Trump will talk about what he sees as President Biden’s "disastrous amnesty and border policies," as well as the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. It appears that Trump will say that he is the future of the Republican party. Axios reported that the former President plans to claim he is the leader of the GOP and its "presumptive 2024 nominee".

What is CPAC?

The Conservative Political Action Conference is an annual shindig for a collection of conservative activists and elected Republican officials. The conference was first launched in 1974 and has always been held either in or around Washington, DC. Ronald Reagan gave the inaugural keynote speech at CPAC in 1974.

Every year attendees are asked to do a straw poll to survey trends in the conservative movement. One question that is always watched closely, but will be even more so this year, is who is the most popular possible presidential candidate. Who the attendees pick could make or break Trump's expected announcement for 2024.

Who will be attending CPAC?

Along with former President Trump, there will be several officials from the former Trump administration, including Mike Pompeo, Larry Kudlow and Ben Carson. As well celebrities from conservative media and actor Jon Voight. However the conference has scratched one speaker, according to the NY Post, musician Young Pharaoh will no longer attend, he reportedly said Judaism is a “complete lie” and said it was “made up for political gain.”

Perhaps the most notable person missing from the event will be former Vice President Mike Pence. Politico was first to report that he has declined an invitation to attend CPAC this year.