‘The Republican Party is being reborn thanks to President Trump,’ Guilfoyle declared. ‘It is being reborn as a party of the working class of minorities, of hard working American men and women, the party of America First, the party of President Trump.’
The former president makes his first post-White House appearance when he addresses the annual conservative gathering on Sunday. He is expected to solidify his hold on the GOP while slamming Joe Biden, his successor in the Oval Office.
Donald Trump Jr., his oldest son, told the crowd: ‘I’m looking forward to Sunday. I imagine it will not be what we call a low energy speech.’
He added that his father’s remarks would ‘solidify Donald Trump and the MAGA movement as the future of the Republican Party.’
Donald Trump Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle previewed Donald Trump’s return to the political stage when the duo addressed CPAC on Friday
Donald Trump Jr and Kimberly Guilfoyle said former President Donald Trump would solidify his hold on the Republican Party when he addresses the gathering on Sunday
The two spoke to the annual gathering of the conservative faithful on Friday in Orlando
Kimberly Guilfoyle said the Republican Party is being ‘reborn’ thanks to Donald Trump while Donald Trump Jr said his father’s speech on Sunday would not be ‘low energy’
Former President Trump is expected to be a force to reckon with in next year’s election and his MAGA mob of supporters are expected to play an outsized role in the House and Senate primaries. Trump has been taken note of Republicans who did not support him during his second impeachment trial nor during his attempt to illegally turn over the election results. He has vowed revenge.
On Friday, he announced his endorsement of Max Miller against Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted for Trump’s impeachment.
Guilfoyle indicated it was coming.
A statue of former President Donald Trump on display at the merchandise show at the Conservative Political Action Conference
‘We bid a farewell to the weak need the spineless, and the cowards that are posing in DC, pretending that they’re working for the people,’ she told the CPAC crowd, which is heavy with MAGA supporters.
She called on the Trump faithful to ‘send them a pink slip straight from CPAC.’
And, to the delight of the crowd, she held up her arms in victory and repeated the line from her speech to the Republican National Convention – a line that launched a thousand memes: ‘And yes the best is yet to come.’
Trump Jr., meanwhile, used his remarks to slam Representative Liz Cheney, one of the 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of his father’s second impeachment trial.
‘Speaking of bombing the Middle East. have you seen Liz Cheney’s poll numbers,’ he said. He also slammed her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney.
‘Liz Cheney and her politics are only slightly less popular than her father is at a quail hunt,’ he said, referring to a 2006 hunting accident where Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man, who was not badly hurt.
The response to his remark was tepid. ‘What?,’ he said. ‘Fact checkers: please have at it!,’ which got more applause.
This year’s CPAC speakers’ roster is full of of fervent Trump supporters.
Notably absent from the list is Mike Pence, who was a regular speaker when he was vice president. Nor is Nikki Haley attending. She questioned Trump’s efforts to overthrow the election in an interview with Politico and Trump reportedly refused to see her when she tried to come to Mar-a-Lago to make amends.
Also not on the list is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who publicly chastised Trump for inciting the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.
And conference organizers did not invite any of the 17 Republican members of Congress who voted to support Trump´s second impeachment. Nor did they invite any major Trump critics.
The Conservative Political Action Conference is an event organized by the American Conservative Union, whose chairman, Matt Schlapp, is close to Trump.
It’s a must-stop for conservatives looking to raise their profile among the party faithful and on the national stage. It’s rooster is filled with potential presidential candidates and those guaranteed to bring applause from the right-leaning crowd.
Donald Trump will use his speech Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference to push repeated claims that he is the true victor of the 2020 presidential election
Trump will use his return to the spotlight to cement his role as leader of the Republican Party and to criticize President Joe Biden’s first month in office.
‘I think the broader point will be: Here’s where the Republican Party and conservative movement and the America First movement goes from here,’ senior Trump adviser Jason Miller told the Associated Press. ‘In many ways, this will be a throwback to 2016, where the president ran against Washington. Here we´ll see the president address the fact that the only divide in the Republican Party is between the elites and the conservative grassroots in the party.’
Schlapp said he expected Trump to outline an active role in Republican Party politics but couldn’t say if the former president would definitively throw his hat in the ring for another White House run.
‘I’m not sure what he’s going to say about 2024 but I’m pretty confident he’s going to make it clear that it’s a very viable possibility,’ Schlapp told Reuters.
‘Donald Trump is going to stay in the game and will be involved in primaries and he’s going to opine and he´s going to give speeches, and for establishment Republicans it puts shivers down their spine. They’re very concerned he’s going to continue to have an impact. My advice to them is to get used to it,’ Schlapp said.
But two people who have discussed Trump’s upcoming remarks with the former president told The Daily Beast that Trump will push his repeated – and false – claims that the presidential election was ‘stolen’ and that he’s the true victor.
Biden’s White House has downplayed Trump’s return to the public stage.
‘We haven’t even seen the former president speak at CPAC,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week. ‘Obviously, President Biden has spoken to his concerns about the rhetoric of the former President, how he was unfit for office. That’s why he ran against him and why he defeated him. But we’re not going to spend too much time here focused on or talking about President Trump.’
At Friday’s CPAC session, Texas Senator Ted Cruz received a warm welcome from the crowd after being criticized in his home state for going to Cancun while Texans suffered from lost power and water after a winter storm.
And he kicked off his remarks with a joke about his controversy.
‘Orlando is awesome. It’s not as nice as Cancun, but it’s nice,’ he said to laughter and applause.
Cruz, in meandering remarks, offered several applause lines as he blasted cancel culture, dropped references to Star Wars, Star Trek and Ghostbusters; and blasted liberals.
‘This is the Rebel Alliance,’ he said of the group, referring to the heroes of the Star Wars franchise. ‘Darth Vader and the emperor – and let’s be clear, they’re not your father – are terrified of the rebels that are here. And I’m telling ya, Gina Carano stands with us!’
‘We believe in individuality – different people have different views. We are the not the Borg,’ he said, referring to the villains in Star Trek. ‘I may have committed a cardinal sin mixing Star Wars and Star Trek.’
Senator Ted Cruz kicked off his remarks to CPAC with a joke about his controversial trip to Cancun
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley gave a fiery speech where he vowed he wasn’t going anywhere, called for Big Tech to be broken up and slammed China. ‘Josh, Josh, Josh,’ the crowd shouted as he left the stage
He also charged Democrats with fearing Trump.
‘They look at Donald J Trump and they look at the millions and millions of people inspired, who went to battle fighting alongside President Trump, and they’re terrified. And they want him to go away. Let me tell you this right now, Donald J Trump ain’t going anywhere,’ he said.
He closed with: ‘In the immortal words of William Wallace: Freedom.’
Meanwhile, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, a prominent Trump ally on Capitol Hill who came under fire for leading objections to the electoral college certification in Congress on January 6th, told the crowd he wasn’t going anywhere.
‘I’m here today, I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not backing down. Not a chance!,’ he said to thunderous applause.
He referenced what happened to him after his objections, where he lost a book contract and had some senators calling on him to resign.
‘I stood up,’ he said.
‘All I did was, by the way, I did what our Democrat friends, my Democrat colleagues have done in every single election that a Republican president has won in the last 20 years,’ he said. ‘I said I want to have a debate on election integrity, and what was the result of that. No I was called a traitor … that I should resign, I should be expelled from the United States Senate. Well, as I said a moment ago, I’m not going to stay right here.’
His speech was filled with kind of red meat rhetoric that conservatives eat up. He called for big tech companies to be broken up and he slammed China.
‘We need to break those corporations up and cut them down to size,’ he said of Big Tech.
‘You got to stand up to China, and not allow them to continue to push us over to take our jobs to cheat on trade. We gotta put America,’ he said.
And he closed with these words: ‘I just want to say my friends: America now. America first. America forever.’
The crowd yelled ‘Josh, Josh, Josh’ as he left the stage.
The four-day conservative gathering was moved from suburban Maryland to Florida in part because of the Sunshine State’s more relaxed rules on public gatherings during the COVID pandemic.
‘That state decided to cancel us because it wasn’t safe,’ CPAC host Matt Schlapp said in his opening remarks of the decision to move the conference from Maryland.
‘And I said I’ll be damned if I’m the first chairman in 20 years not to have CPAC,’ he added to thundering applause.
Many Trump supporters regularly refuse to don face masks. His campaign rallies were notable for the packed crowds and bare faces.
And when organizers of CPAC asked attendees to mask up on Friday, in compliance with the state rules, they were booed in return.
American Conservative Union executive director Dan Schneider and CPAC deputy director Carly Patrick took to the stage to make the request on Friday morning.
‘I know this might sound like a little bit of a downer, but we also believe in property rights, and this is a private hotel,’ Schneider said. ‘And we believe in the rule of law, so we need to comply with the laws of this county that we’re in. But a private hotel, just like your house, gets to set its own rules.’
Patrick added that ‘we are in a private facility, and we do want to be respectful of the ordinances that they have as their private property. So please, everyone: When you’re in the ballroom, when you’re seated, you should still be wearing a mask.’
‘No,’ the crowd yelled back. ‘Freedom.’
Most attendees didn’t wear the face coverings, arguing the government cannot make them. And several speakers at the event touted personal freedom.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who opened Friday’s session, didn’t mention the face mask issue in his brief remarks.
Conservatives are gathered in Orlando for annual CPAC conference
Many in the crowd did not wear face masks and several booed when organizers asked them to put them on in compliance with state rules
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis opened Friday’s session – most speakers are fervent Trump supporters
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida used his speech to take several swipes – both at members of his own party and at Democrats
But he did tout his state’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Florida has reported 1,892,301 cases since the pandemic began.
‘Florida’s leading on the issues that matter to conservatives,’ DeSantis said. ‘We don’t spout hollow rhetoric. We take decisive action.’
‘Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong,’ he noted.
Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida used his speech to take several swipes – both at members of his own party and at Democrats.
He opened his remarks with a dig at Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming, whom Gaetz unsuccessfully tried to get removed from the House GOP leadership after she supported Trump’s second impeachment.
‘I haven’t gotten that good a warm welcome since I was in Wyoming,’ he said.
‘If Liz Cheney were on this stage today she’d get booed off of it. What does that say? The leadership of our party is not found in Washington, DC. You are the energy. We are America,’ he noted.
He also attacked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over reports that Cuomo’s administration covered up the number of COVID deaths in nursing homes in the state.
‘Meanwhile they’re stripping granny out of the COVID ward at the hospital and tossing her into the nursing home – just enough time for her to infect everybody and go back to the hospital so that deaths can be recategorized for politics,’ Gaetz said.