Donald Trump was set to address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this Saturday as he has for the past several years. However, just hours ago, the Trump campaign stated they were cancelling his appearance and would instead be campaigning in Kansas and Florida.
Report from CNN:
Donald Trump will no longer speak at the annual conservative confab CPAC this weekend, he announced Friday.
Trump was scheduled to speak at the annual gathering of the who’s-who of the conservative world Saturday, but said he would be campaigning, instead.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said the GOP front-runner will instead attend rallies in Kansas and Florida.
“Because of this, he will not be able to speak at CPAC as he has done for many consecutive years,” the campaign said. “Mr. Trump would like to thank Matt Schlapp and all of the executives at CPAC and looks forward to returning to next year, hopefully as president of the United States.”
The American Conservative Union, the conference’s organizers, said it was “disappointed.”
“We are very disappointed Donald Trump has decided at the last minute to drop out of CPAC,” the group said. “This comes at a critical time in our movement’s history. His decision sends a clear message to grassroots conservatives.”
But ACU said it remains “neutral” on the presidential race.
There were rumors that CPAC was filled with Cruz and Rubio activists, and a speech by Trump might not have been well-received this year as it was in prior years. In fact, a mass walkout was potentially being planned and it appears the Trump campaign decided to avoid the embarrassment and stay on the campaign trail instead.
Ted Cruz is set to address the conference this afternoon around 4pm ET. Marco Rubio will be speaking Saturday morning around 11am ET. The full schedule is available here and the entire CPAC event is being carried on C-SPAN.