When Donald Trump makes his first post-presidency appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) next weekend, somebody who was once very close to him will be conspicuously missing.
Former Vice President Mike Pence made the decision to turn down an invitation for the conservative conference, according to Fox News.
Pence declines CPAC invite
Pence has been laying low since leaving office. The former VP and radio host has joined the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation and is also starting a new podcast, The Hill reports.
It’s not clear why Pence is not going to CPAC, but some may speculate about anger relating to the recent January riot at the Capitol, which saw tensions between Trump and his former VP come to a head.
According to Fox, an aide to Pence said that the former VP simply wants to spend time with family and avoid the spotlight for the time being.
Trump to make big play
Trump has also not been heard from much since leaving office and losing his Twitter account. That will change this weekend, however.
According to a report, Trump is planning to stake his claim as the presumptive nominee in 2024 and the party’s leader at the Orlando conference, which begins Thursday, with Trump headlining the finale on Sunday.
Trump’s speech is also expected to target Joe Biden and his radical immigration policies, The Hill notes.
Important week for the GOP
Speculation has brewed for weeks over Trump’s next moves as he meets with Republican leaders in Palm Beach, Florida. He remains the dominant figure in the GOP, and he has made it clear that he has no intentions of leaving politics amidst a factional battle for the GOP’s future.
The Donald recently went on the attack against Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who he called an “unsmiling political hack,” and has made clear in his public statements that he wants to keep the MAGA movement going.
“Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun,” Trump said in a statement following his acquittal on a single article of impeachment last week, according to Fox. He went on:
In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people. There has never been anything like it!
It’s going to be a big week for the GOP, to say the least.