Seven weeks after an emboldened pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to cease the certification of the 2020 election outcomes, the Conservative Political Motion Convention being held this week in Orlando, Florida, is shaping as much as be an occasion that leans into the 2020 election conspiracy theories reasonably than rebukes them.
The influential annual right-wing convention will host former President Donald Trump’s first public look since leaving workplace final month, as Trump continues to push baseless claims that the election was “rigged” and “stolen.”
Trump’s speech in Orlando is about to deal with the way forward for the Republican Social gathering and President Joe Biden’s immigration coverage, a supply aware of the plans informed ABC Information. Nonetheless, Trump very hardly ever sticks to the script — and a collection of pleasant TV interviews final week which he continued to say that he received the election means that the previous president remains to be itching to relitigate his 2020 loss.
And whereas Republicans are gearing up for the 2022 midterm elections, CPAC will function panels filled with audio system who had been on the entrance traces pushing to overturn the 2020 election outcomes primarily based on discredited conspiracy theories that helped gasoline the Jan. 6 assault. The convention is run every year American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, who himself helped lead the previous president’s effort to overturn the election outcomes.
The speaker listing has already sparked controversy within the days main as much as the occasion, main the conference — which this yr has the theme “America Uncanceled” — to cancel an look conservative YouTuber Younger Pharaoh over anti-Semitic feedback posted on-line.
“Now we have simply realized that somebody we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that don’t have any residence with our convention or our group,” CPAC officers mentioned on Twitter. “The person is not going to be taking part at our convention.”
Pharaoh responded on Twitter after the announcement, calling the choice “#CENSORSHIP AT ITS BEST!”
Agenda on ‘defending elections’
Over the four-day occasion, CPAC will function a seven-part collection of panels on “defending elections,” based on a newly launched schedule. The collection will embody a presentation former Congressman and Fox Information contributor Jason Chaffetz titled “The Left Pulled the Strings, Coated It Up, and Even Admits It,” and one other titled “Different Culprits: Why Judges & Media Refused to Take a look at the Proof,” that includes Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), a number one voice in Congress who supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election outcomes and informed the gang on the Jan. 6 rally to “begin taking down names and kicking ass.”
When requested for particulars concerning the convention’s agenda, CPAC spokesperson Ian Walters referred ABC Information to a Time journal article on the aftermath of the election, which doesn’t present proof of widespread voter fraud or the election being “stolen” as Trump and his allies have claimed, however as a substitute focuses on what it describes as a “huge, cross-partisan marketing campaign to guard the election.”
Walters didn’t reply to follow-up questions on audio system scheduled to seem and different particular panels.
Over the weekend the convention additionally introduced the addition of featured speaker Cleta Mitchell, a longtime conservative lawyer who, as one of many former president’s attorneys, was on the Jan. 2 hour-long telephone name when Trump urged Georgia election officers to “discover” sufficient votes to overturn the state’s presidential outcomes. Earlier this month, the Georgia Secretary of State’s workplace introduced it had formally launched an investigation into Trump’s telephone calls to state election officers.
Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Social gathering Patriots, can also be scheduled as a featured speaker this week. Martin, who attended “Cease the Steal” rallies main up the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, tweeted, “We is not going to enable them to steal this election!” and shared pictures from a Nov. 21 “Cease the Steal” rally in Atlanta.
One other speaker slated to seem, Angela Stanton-King, has a historical past of pushing conspiracy theories linked to QAnon — and simply days after the Capitol assault she posted a photograph pushing the baseless conspiracy that the riot was “staged.”
Others who labored intently with the previous president and his staff following the 2020 election are additionally set to seem, together with former Trump marketing campaign adviser David Bossie, who briefly led the president’s post-election authorized effort and is about to talk on a panel titled “Shining a Gentle on the Left’s 2020 Shadow Marketing campaign.” Following the election, Bossie held a press convention in Phoenix together with Arizona Republican Social gathering Chairwoman Kelli Ward, the place they complained about Fox Information calling Arizona for Biden.
Former Nevada Lawyer Normal Adam Laxalt, a loyal Trump supporter and the co-chair of the Trump marketing campaign in Nevada, may even converse on a “defending elections” panel. Laxalt, who was on the forefront of efforts to overturn the election in Nevada, appeared at a information convention in Las Vegas pushing allegations of widespread voter fraud alongside CPAC’s personal Matt Schlapp and former performing Trump intelligence chief Ric Grenell, who may even converse at CPAC this week.
Showing on CNN Monday evening, simply days earlier than the beginning of the convention, Schlapp reiterated his stance that the election had been stolen, regardless of Trump and his allies struggling authorized losses in 60 election-related instances.
“Simply since you fail in courtroom does not imply you do not have a great case,” Schlapp informed CNN.
Schlapp, the husband of longtime Trump aide Mercedes Schlapp, was rewarded for his loyalty throughout Trump’s final weeks in workplace with a seat on the Library of Congress Belief Fund Board. Schlapp’s lobing agency reportedly introduced in $750,000 within the final two weeks of 2020 to foyer for a presidential pardon for Parker Petit — however Trump didn’t grant the request earlier than leaving workplace.
A number of different CPAC audio system this yr labored with the “Cease the Steal” group to protest the election outcomes at occasions across the nation, together with political commentator Shemeka Michelle, conservative activist Scott Presler, and Rep. Paul Gosar.
David Bostic, an organizer for “Cease the Steal,” posted on social media that he additionally plans to attend CPAC this week. A detailed ally of “Cease the Steal” chief Ali Alexander, Bostic downplayed the Capitol assault that adopted the rally, tweeting, “In case you’re calling a pair hundred agitators getting into the US Capitol a ‘coup’ then you’re dumb.”
COVID-19 looms for second yr
Final yr’s CPAC, held at its common location in Maryland, passed off because the novel coronavirus was simply beginning to unfold throughout the nation — and inside per week, the occasion turned floor zero for the an infection of Washington’s political world.
On March 7, per week after the occasion, the American Conservative Union confirmed that an unnamed attendee had examined optimistic for COVID-19 after coming in direct contact with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Doug Collins (R-Ga.), and incoming White Home chief of workers Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), prompting all of them to self-quarantine.
Now, greater than a yr into the pandemic, the Maryland resort that normally hosts the occasion is briefly closed because of COVID-19 — so the occasion is being held this yr in Florida, the place state officers have pushed again in opposition to quite a few COVID-19 protocols.
In accordance with each a CPAC spokesperson and a Hyatt spokesperson, the convention will function in lockstep with Orange County ordinances that require facial coverings with uncommon exceptions. Masks might be supplied for friends who haven’t got them, and if an attendee refuses to conform, they are going to be requested to return to their room or to depart the occasion totally.
A number of audio system, together with the previous president, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert, have flouted masks restrictions and defended those that have refused to put on them.
This yr’s occasion comes simply days after the U.S. surpassed half one million COVID-19 deaths.
The convention is scheduled to happen Thursday Sunday, with Trump scheduled to talk on the ultimate day.
As in 2020, Trump will arrive on the occasion contemporary off an impeachment acquittal the U.S. Senate — however for the primary time in 4 years, he will not be attending as president.