This weekend will feature rival conferences that demonstrate the warring factions of the Republican Party.
The Conservative Political Action Conference will take place starting Thursday in Orlando, Florida, where it moved last year to escape the D.C. area’s stricter COVID protocols. Former President Donald Trump will be the headliner.
On Monday, organizers confirmed that former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard would be a ‘special guest’ at CPAC’s Friday night Ronald Reagan Dinner. Additionally, Dr. Oz, who is running as a Republican for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat, will be on a healthcare panel on Sunday.
Trump’s speech has been moved from the afternoon – when he typically addresses the conservative crowd – to primetime Saturday, showing that he remains the star of the party.
However, the anti-Trump elements of the Republican Party are also gathering, starting on Saturday.
Former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (left) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (right) will both be appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, where it was moved to get away from strict COVID-19 protocols
Former President Donald Trump’s CPAC speech has been moved from the afternoon – when he typically addresses the conservative crowd – to primetime Saturday, showing that he remains the star of the party
The group Principles First is hosting a two-day summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. – which still has an indoor mask mandate until the end of the month.
The top-billed speakers are Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who were censured earlier this month by the Republican National Committee for their work on the Democrat-led January 6 House select committee.
The full speakers list is a who’s who of Trump critics.
There’s Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who stood up to pressure from Trump and his ‘big lie’ allies after Georgia went for now President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
There’s former Republican Rep. Denver Riggleman, who was primaried by a far-right GOP candidate after he officiated a gay wedding.
Whistleblowers including Alexander Vindman and Olivia Troye and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn will speak.
Meanwhile back in Washington, prominent Trump critics will gather at the two-day Principles First summit. The gathering will be headlined by Reps. Liz Cheney (left) and Adam Kinzinger (right)
Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, who tried to mount a primary campaign against Trump in 2020, will also appear.
Meanwhile in Florida, the CPAC schedule is crammed with Trump allies – new and old.
Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert – both elected in 2020 when Trump was on his way out – will be making appearances at CPAC, as they’ve become prominent and controversial voices within the House GOP caucus.
Both lawmakers are appearing on panels.
Greene will appear on one Saturday morning entitled ‘They Can’t Shut Us Up!’ while Boebert will appear Sunday and discuss ‘The Moron in Chief.’
Donald Trump Jr. has been given the final speaking slot on Sunday – followed by musician Lee Greenwood.
Greenwood’s God Bless the USA has been former President Trump’s walk-on music at his rallies for years.
Former Trump officials including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and economic adviser Larry Kudlow will give speeches.
Trump-aligned lawmakers including Reps. Jim Jordan, Ronny Jackson, Madison Cawthorn and Sens. Ted Cruz, Marsha Blackburn, Marco Rubio, Bill Hagerty, Mike Braun, Rick Scott, John Kennedy and James Lankford are all slated to appear.
CPAC organizers also have Jackie Siegel, who was featured in the documentary ‘The Queen of Versailles’ for trying to build a replica of the French chateau in Florida, and ‘Papa John,’ former pizza CEO John Schnatter, who was removed from his post after using the n-word in a sensitivity training, making appearances.
So far, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is the only prominent Democrat slated to appear at CPAC, a gathering for those on the political right. While Gabbard endorsed President Joe Biden, she’s become more critical and often appears on Fox News Channel
So far, Gabbard is the only prominent Democrat.
She has turned heads throughout her political career.
When she came to Congress in 2013, she forged an across-the-aisle Congressional Future Caucus with Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, before he resigned in scandal.
Relations between the parties were frosty even then.
Then in 2016, she resigned from her Democratic National Committee position to endorse progressive Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.
She had been critical of the party for only hosting six primary debates and not allowing candidates to participate in non-DNC debates.
A letter Gabbard wrote to then DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was made public by Wikileaks and revealed the Hawaii congresswoman had accused the party of favoring Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary.
Gabbard ran for president in 2020, but eventually dropped out and endorsed Biden.
She has become critical of the president since and is a frequent guest on the conservative Fox News Channel.
Dr. Mehmet Oz will be making his CPAC debut as he runs in a crowded Republican field to take the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
Oz, who recently received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his years as a TV personality, will have to showcase his conservative bona fides as his rivals have been blasting him as being too ‘Hollywood’ for Pennsylvania.