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23 Feb, 2021 15:37

Ex-VP Pence snubs annual conservative conference where his former boss Trump is due to speak, prompting speculations

Ex-VP Pence snubs annual conservative conference where his former boss Trump is due to speak, prompting speculations

While ex-president Donald Trump will be speaking at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he will not be joined by Mike Pence, a fact that has both sides of the political aisle talking theories as to why.

Matt Schlapp, one of the main organizers for the event, has said Pence’s refusal to speak at the conference is a “mistake.” 

“His conservative record is well respected, and conservatives want to hear his take on the current threats posed by socialism and this radicalized Democrat party,” he said.

Trump’s speech will, meanwhile, be his most public event since leaving office. While he’s given a handful of television interviews and released multiple public statements, the former president has been unusually silent at a time when the future of Republican Party has come into question, with some encouraging the party to ditch Trump and others wanting to see it be more loyal to him.

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Trump is expected to talk about both his future in politics, as well as the failures of the Joe Biden administration – especially immigration – when he speaks on Sunday, February 28, the last day of the CPAC event that opens Thursday in Orlando, Florida. 

While there is no official bad blood between Pence and Trump, reports suggested the relationship may have soured following the US Capitol riot on January 6. Pence had to be rushed away as some Trump supporters reportedly planned on kidnapping him.

Trump was subsequently impeached by the House of Representatives for “inciting an insurrection” by stirring up the crowd that day with a speech about election fraud, but the former president was later acquitted in the Senate. 

A report from the Washington Examiner citing anonymous sources close to both Trump and Pence indicates the former vice president refuses to speak at CPAC simply because of Trump’s presence. Trump, according to the Examiner, is also furious with his former colleague for certifying Biden’s election victory.

“As far as Trump is concerned, there is no way back for Pence,” a source told the paper. 

Officials with Trump’s campaign, however, have pushed back against the reports of a fractured relationship.

Conspiracy theories on social media have been flooding in since the news of Pence’s absence broke, with many Trump critics theorizing Pence may not want to “speak to people who tried to kill him” and conservatives seeing no future for the former vice president in a party he’s promoted and been part of for decades.

Since leaving his position in the government, Pence has opened an office in Virginia and will be serving as a “distinguished visiting fellow” for the Heritage Foundation.

Other speakers at CPAC Orlando will include former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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