The party’s standard-bearer and presumptive nominee informed conference organizers that he was backing out of his Saturday slot. CPAC has bristled at some of the more extremist fringes of the conservative movement in the past, perhaps most notably when it banished anti-Muslim radicals from participating. Trump’s invitation was seen by some as a betrayal of CPAC’s commitment to mainstream conservatism.
The annual gathering of mostly young, mostly white conservatives in the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in the D.C. suburbs takes on added significance in election years. Anybody who’s anybody in the Republican Party makes an appearance at some point during the five-day convention, presidential candidates included. That Trump feels no urgency to pander to a room full of conservatives is further testament to the havoc he is wreaking upon the model Republicans have relied upon for years. In a statement, Trump’s campaign said they he was forgoing the conference to continue campaigning in “Witchita, Kanasas.”