Former President Donald J. Trump will address CPAC on February 28, his first public appearance and lengthy address since he last left the White House last month.
A senior adviser to Mr. Trump confirmed that he would be attending the Conservative Public Action Conference taking place in Orlando, Florida this year and that he intended to speak on the future of the Republican Party as well as President Biden’s immigration guidelines, aiming to undo Mr. Trumps.
What Mr. Trump wants to talk about and what he ultimately says when he is on stage often differs as he discards scripts that prepare the helpers for him.
But it will be the first time since his followers’ deadly uprising in the Capitol on January 6 that he has spoken in a public setting.
The former president, who has been permanently banned from Twitter and is facing investigations into his business as well as guilt for the Capitol attack, has generally held back, save for a small round of interviews with personable news outlets about the death by radio host Rush Limbaugh last week. Although the interviews were supposed to be about Mr Limbaugh, Mr Trump was still trying to reiterate his false claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.
But CPAC has traditionally been a cattle call for Republican candidates for office as well as aspiring figures in the party. And Mr Trump has signaled to several allies and advisers in the past few days that he is focused on becoming president again in 2024.
Whether he actually does it is an open question. But his presence could freeze the field for the next two years, preventing other candidates from developing operations and, most importantly, networks of donors to sustain their candidacies.
Mr Trump is currently in a battle with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, over the future of the party and what type of candidates it will attract. Mr McConnell has made it clear that he would like to try to minimize Mr Trump’s influence after the deadly riot.
But Mr Trump has said he will try to encourage candidates who move his policies forward.
The CPAC conference is the event at which Mr Trump gave a speech a year ago in Washington, DC, downplaying the threat posed by the novel coronavirus and insisting that his administration was in control of the situation. A New Jersey man who attended the conference tested positive for the virus, causing a mess among officials from the American Conservative Union who chaired the conference.
Within two weeks of Mr. Trump’s speech, the pandemic was a full blown crisis that ultimately gripped his administration. The government’s failed response to the virus was a key issue for voters in the 2020 election.
Mr Trump’s modern political life began in 2011 with a speech at the CPAC.