(NEXSTAR) – With the White House Press Room overtaken by the Biden administration and his Twitter account on lockdown, former President Donald Trump has been relatively quiet in the month since his departure from the Oval Office. That could change Sunday.
The 45th president is due to speak this weekend at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, more commonly known as CPAC. The annual three-day summit of conservatism is already underway, but you have to scroll all the way to the end of the CPAC agenda to find Mr. Trump, who is set to close out the event with the final address. He is scheduled to take the stage at 3:40 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday.
The conference marks the first significant gathering of Republicans since the election and its aftermath as the party reckons with the faction that continues to support Trump as its leader and those who think the GOP needs to move quickly beyond the turbulent era of his presidency. Conference organizers, representing the first camp, did not invite any of the 17 Republican members of Congress who voted to support Trump’s second impeachment or any major Trump critics.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a regular at the annual conference, will not be on the program after publicly chastising Trump for inciting last month’s deadly insurrection at the Capitol. McConnell and his allies are worried that Trump will undermine the party’s political future should the former president and his conspiracy theories continue to dominate Republican politics.
Trump is expected to use his speech to assert his standing as the head of the party, as well as to harshly criticize Biden’s first month in office, including the new president’s efforts to undo Trump’s immigration policies.
“I think the broader point will be: Here’s where the Republican Party and conservative movement and the America First movement goes from here,” said senior Trump adviser Jason Miller told the Associated Press. “In many ways, this will be a throwback to 2016, where the president ran against Washington. Here we’ll see the president address the fact that the only divide in the Republican Party is between the elites and the conservative grassroots in the party.”
The CPAC website has a Watch Live feature for those interested in tuning in to Trump’s first official public appearance since leaving office.
Trump has begun to wade back into the public, calling into friendly news outlets after the death of conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh and after golfer Tiger Woods’ serious car accident. His aides have been meeting this week to set benchmarks for fundraising and organization for candidates seeking his endorsement as he tries to plot a future that will include backing those who will challenge lawmakers who voted for his impeachment and whom he deems insufficiently loyal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.