Trump to make his return at CPAC amid Republican Party divisions

EXCLUSIVE: Trump will headline CPAC in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, where he is expected to continue his false claims of election fraud

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Donald Trump is back and will be making his first public appearance since the impeachment trial and Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, when he boarded his flight out of D.C. to his new residence in Florida.

Trump will headline the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando on Sunday, where he is expected to offer some of the same tones and themes of election fraud and the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

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President Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center February 29, 2020 in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Social media companies have silenced Trump and so have some of the nation’s news organizations, however, CPAC is giving Trump a so-called packed house in which there’s “no way to get anyone else in” for the address. 

A Republican source who wishes not to be identified tells theGrio, “it is sold out because people want to see what’s going on … to see if there is a spectacle.”

Matt Schlapp, head of CPAC, says, “I think it’s unhealthy to silence people. [Trump] has a voice and constitutional rights and we are pleased to be his vehicle to speak.   

Matt Schlapp (L), Chairman of the American Conservative Union (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

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The conservative gathering is happening as the Republican Party tries to figure out its identity, especially after the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill. 

“If the GOP were a church, those trying to push out MAGA wouldn’t fill a pew,” Schlapp adds. “If CPAC is only preaching to the choir, the choir is pretty much the whole church. We have our divisions but it is made up of folks that just never liked the Trump persona.”

What a difference a few years makes. In 2015, then-civilian businessman Donald Trump was booed at the conference when he proposed that the United States should fight ISIS with ground troops in the Middle East.  Now, conservatives can’t seem to keep people away from the controversial leader, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Republican source’s broader question is “Will this be a superspreader event?” After parties are expected to take place at the annual political event. Tallies of then-President Trump’s superspreader events show at least 700 people have died after attending maskless or mask optional Trump events.

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