Donald Trump will make his first public appearance since leaving the White House on Sunday, when the one-term Republican president will appear before the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
The conference begins Thursday and runs through Sunday in Orlando, Florida. Trump will speak on the final day of the conference, whose theme this year is “America Uncanceled.”
How to watch: Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. CPAC is being shown on C-SPAN. There is also a CPAC livestream at live.conservative.org
Several former Trump administration officials will also speak at the event, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Trump allies, such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.
Former Vice President Mike Pence declined an invitation to speak at the event, according to a reporter from Politico.
Trump to speak at @CPAC next week on the future of the GOP & Biden’s immigration agenda. Several former aides & WH officials will also deliver remarks. The speaker roster does not include Pence, however, who declined an invitation.— Gabby Orr (@GabbyOrr_) February 20, 2021
Axios quoted unnamed sources as saying Trump plans to call himself the GOP’s presumptive 2024 White House nominee, while Newsweek quoted an anonymous source that Trump will “be talking about the future of the Republican party and the conservative movement. Also look for the 45th president to take on President [Joe] Biden’s disastrous amnesty and border policies.”
Trump has been keeping a relatively low profile since he retired from the White House to Palm Beach, Florida, in January, but he reemerged last week to conduct a series of phone-in interviews to react to the death of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh.
On Sunday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he will not back Trump if the former president runs for the White House in 2024, saying “it’s time” to move on to different voices in the Republican Party.
“No, I wouldn’t,” Hutchinson said when asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether he would support Trump again. “He’s going to have a voice, as former presidents do. But there’s many voices in the party.”
Trump “should not define our future. We have got to define it for ourself,” the Republican governor added.
Hutchinson had said after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which led to Trump’s impeachment by the House, that he wanted Trump’s administration to end. But Hutchinson did not join calls for Trump to resign and said impeachment wasn’t a practical option. The Senate acquitted Trump of inciting the attack.
Hutchinson’s interview aired days after his nephew, Arkansas state Sen. Jim Hendren, announced that he’s leaving the GOP, citing Trump’s rhetoric and the riot at the Capitol by Trump’s supporters. Trump had stoked a campaign of spreading debunked conspiracy theories and false violent rhetoric that the 2020 election was stolen from him in the weeks before the insurrection.
On Sunday, Hutchinson praised Trump’s family, including Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and said he also respected his nephew’s decision to continue his political career as an independent. But Hutchinson said the Republican Party will have a “good future” if it sticks to core conservative principles rather than “personalities.” He said the GOP will need to work in particular on galvanizing certain segments of voters as Trump did, such as blue-collar workers.
“I have worked with Ivanka and others, and they love America. But I would not support him,” Hutchinson said.
“We have got to respond to the people that like Trump. We have got to respond and identify with the issues that gave him the first election and gave him support throughout his presidency ... but we just got to handle it in a different way with different personalities,” he said.
Hendren had been considering a run for governor next year because Hutchinson is term-limited, but Hendren’s decision to leave the party keeps him out of a GOP primary that will include Trump’s former White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders.
Sanders, the daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, has indicated she would lean heavily on Trump and his rhetoric, with an announcement video pledging to fight the “radical left.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
About the Author
Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com