It was sold out.
CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — has now concluded its annual four-day conference in Orlando, Florida.
It was a star-studded event, with former President Donald Trump in the starring role. Notably, Trump ran away with the CPAC straw poll, winning an overwhelming 59 percent and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis getting 28 percent. Other potential GOP candidates for 2024 were way back in the single digits.
Serious credit for the massive success of the conference without a doubt goes to the CPAC leadership team. That would be the American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp, wife and fellow CPAC Now TV host Mercedes Schlapp, ACU Vice Chair Charlie Gerow (Charlie is also running for the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania), and ACU Executive Director Dan Schneider.
Thousands of CPACers — serious conservative activists — had the opportunity to hear from not only Trump but one conservative leader after another. In the elected official category there were Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, and Reps. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Byron Donalds of Florida, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Andy Biggs of Arizona, and more. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had a starring role, as did foreign policy stars K.T. McFarland and Gordon Chang.
The conference was closed out with a riveting speech from Don Trump Jr. and, movingly, singer Lee Greenwood singing — with the audience singing along — his famous anthem to America, God Bless the USA.
Conservative media outlets flooded the place, with Newsmax’s Eric Bolling on stage, and One America News’s Natalie Harp, Fox’s Pete Hegseth, Kayleigh McEnany, and Sara Carter all onstage or doing interviews when they weren’t besieged with selfie requests. Fox host and talk radio star Mark Levin, with wife Julie Strauss Levin, were onstage for a talk about American Marxism (the subject of Mark’s latest bestseller). WMAL radio’s Larry O’Connor hosted a tribute to the late Andrew Breitbart. MyPillow’s CEO Mike Lindell was also present, along with his highly successful Lindell TV and his social media outlet Frank Speech. Ex-Trump aide Jason Miller’s new social media outlet GETTR was visible as well.
And notably, former California Rep. Devin Nunes, now the head of the new Trump social media site Truth Social, was there to give an update on the site and what lies ahead.
What stands out from being in attendance from start to finish is the sheer energy and determination of the conference attendees. Notably, this was an overwhelmingly pro-Trump crowd. It was a veritable sea of those red “Make America Great Again” hats, with a not inconsiderable number that read “Trump Was Right” or “Trump Won.” Not to mention that there were a number in attendance who are running for Congress against anti-Trump Republicans.
If nothing else, the conference was a serious message to that relative handful of Trump-hating establishment Republicans that, yes, Donald Trump, his supporters, and conservative principles are in fact at the heart of the Republican Party — and they are here to stay. They are energized, and they are at work — by the thousands.
So, three cheers for CPAC. Without question, the leadership of Matt and Mercedes Schlapp and Charlie Gerow has given serious new life to CPAC — founded in 1974 — in the 21st century. As was vividly evident in Orlando, CPAC is playing a serious and decidedly positive role in American politics. Along with Trump, it has energized the conservative movement and will for sure be playing a major role in the 2022 elections — and in 2024.
And speaking of 2024? In his speech, the former president received thunderous applause when he mentioned wife Melania as “the former — and future — first lady.”