CPAC 2024 live: Trump to speak on final day as South Carolina primary votes roll in

Gaetz calls for end to aid to Israel unless US cuts funding for United Nations

The latest instalment of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is underway —another four-day jamboree of grandstanding speeches, culture war grievances and MAGA electioneering.

As the conference starts its final day, Donald Trump will make the keynote address at 1 pm local time before heading off to South Carolina for the state’s GOP primary.

Nikki Haley will not be at the conference but did deliver a defiant message to voters this week, pledging to fight on in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination.

On Thursday, right-wing activist Jack Posobiec hailed the “end of democracy” during a panel event with Steve Bannon, commenting: “We are here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on January 6, but we will endeavour to get rid of it.”

Many of those expected to be short-listed as possible Trump running mates gave bombastic speeches to try and curry favour with the former president — Elise Stefanik, Byron Donalds, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, and Kristi Noem were just some of those who took to the stage.

The event has lost some of the punch it once had, with some agenda items poorly attended and a diminished — though still totally bizarre — merchandise market.


Donald Trump 30 minutes late to CPAC speech

Mr Trump was scheduled to speak at CPAC 2024 at 1 pm local time — now, at 1:30 pm, the former president has yet to take the stage.

Watch The Independent’s live feed of his keynote speech here:

Katie Hawkinson24 February 2024 18:30


LIVE NOW: Donald Trump delivers keynote speech scheduled for 1 pm at CPAC 2024

Watch as Mr Trump is scheduled to take the stage at the conference any minute, delivering the keynote address as votes roll in from the South Carolina primary:

Katie Hawkinson24 February 2024 18:00


Fiona Hill warns ‘capricious’ Trump ‘will rip up every agreement that doesn’t have his name on it’

The continued presence of Donald Trump on the US political scene has longtime allies concerned over whether the US can be a reliable security partner, former National Intelligence Officer and Trump administration National Security Council official Fiona Hill has said.

Speaking at the Principles First summit, a gathering of anti-Trump and pro-democracy conservatives in Washington, Ms Hill was asked to opine on how Mr Trump would have reacted to the killing of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny on his watch.

She told attendees the twice-impeached, disgraced ex-president, whose performance during a 2018 Helsinki press conference alongside Russian leader Vladimir Putin was so bad that she considered pulling a fire alarm to end it, might actually have reacted negatively to Navalny’s death if he thought it made him look bad.

“It’s really about how it reflects on him,” she said.

Andrew Feinberg has the story:

Katie Hawkinson24 February 2024 17:30


Trump speech to start at 1 pm local time

Donald Trump will deliver a keynote speech on the final day of CPAC in just under one hour, at 1 pm local time.

Watch the livestream here:

Katie Hawkinson24 February 2024 17:04


Anti-trans rhetoric and policy dominates CPAC, where Republicans invoke the Bible and a ‘war on families’

When he addressed this year’s Conservative Police Action Conference, right-wing commentator Michael Knowles addressed what he called a “kerfuffle” from last year’s remarks, when he said “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life.”

Last year’s statement – widely seen as a call for violence against trans people – was condemned by LGBT+ civil rights groups and the White House, amid an avalanche of anti-trans legislation aimed at young people across the country and fears of abuse and violence fuelled by the denial of trans existence.

At this year’s CPAC, he said he stands by his “observation” that “men can’t become women,” and that the backlash to his statement reveals the “identity crisis” facing an America in decline without religion.

His remarks on Thursday – part of a relatively lengthy diatribe condemning not only trans people but marriage equality, abortion rights and surrogacy – drew little attention outside the poorly attended convention hall, but underscored the ubiquity of anti-trans rhetoric that is threading nearly every single event at the conference and throughout Republican politics.

Katie Hawkinson24 February 2024 17:00


ICYMI: Yes, there was a Jan 6-themed pinball machine at CPAC

Pictures of the brightly coloured game – which bore the title Jan 6: Insurrection, and featured a picture of former president Donald Trump – were circulated online.

Mike Bedigan has the story:

Katie Hawkinson24 February 2024 16:00


‘Donald Trump is a juggernaut of justice’ — Kash Patel

A sleepy and half-empty CPAC convened for its first gathering in 2024 at the Gaylord National Conference Center in National Harbor, Maryland, but there were still plenty of wild and unsubstantiated claims to be had.

Gustaf Kilander has been collating some of the most bizarre things said so far:

Oliver O’Connell24 February 2024 15:30


Roll up! Roll up! For the Trump veepstakes…

With the Republican presidential primary all but decided for former president Donald Trump, Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference served as an audition to become Mr Trump’s running mate.

Being Trump’s running mate is an inherently dicey prospect. For one, the last person who served in the job, the unflappable and pious Mike Pence, famously broke with Trump for the efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, which resulted in Trump supporters threatening Pence’s life.

By the same token, Trump will be 78 come 20 January 2024 and will be capped at serving only four more years. If Trump wins this person will essentially be his heir, with all the benefits and drawbacks. If Trump loses, they will be the person to pick up the pieces for the party in a wholly dysfunctional GOP. If Trump is convicted of a crime on the campaign trail or dies while in office, this person will become the standard bearer for the Republican Party.

Oliver O’Connell24 February 2024 15:00


CPAC: ‘Our worst and dimmest’

Action Conference as “our worst and dimmest” as he branded them the “right-wing nuttiest Republicans.”

“It’s a who’s who of who won’t accept the results of the election,” the late-night talk show host joked.

Oliver O’Connell24 February 2024 14:30


What might we expect from Trump’s CPAC speech today?

When former president Donald Trump takes to the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, expect him to use the prime time appearance to clean up the Alabama Supreme Court’s mess.

Mr Trump, who has previously bragged about his role in “terminating” the federal right to legal abortion, is set to speak at the annual right-wing confab just days after the Yellowhammer State’s highest court essentially outlawed in-vitro fertilisation in a shock ruling that led the state’s IVF clinics to shutter their doors.

The ruling and its aftermath have sent shockwaves through Republican candidates at the state and federal levels, who have struggled to deal with Democratic enthusiasm as a result of the backlash to the federal Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, which overturned the half-century-old Roe v Wade ruling which had guaranteed abortion rights nationwide.

But the ex-president appeared to give his party direction on Friday when he took to Truth Social to stress his support for “the creation of strong, thriving, healthy American families” and “fertility treatments like IVF in every State in America”.

Oliver O’Connell24 February 2024 14:00

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