Donald Trump was scheduled to appear at the annual conservative conference CPAC this weekend, but announced that he will skip the annual gathering of the who’s-who of the conservative universe. The Republican frontrunner was to appear on March 5, but will be campaigning in Kansas and Florida instead. Today he came to Warren, a city in the suburbs of Detroit, where he prepared the ground for a predicted victory in Michigan’s open primary on March 8.
A statement from the Trump explained, "Because of this, he will not be able to speak at CPAC as he has done for many consecutive years.” The campaign statement added, "Mr. Trump would like to thank Matt Schlapp and all of the executives at CPAC and looks forward to returning to next year, hopefully as president of the United States."
For its part, the American Conservative Union, which sponsors CPAC, released a statement saying, "We are very disappointed Donald Trump has decided at the last minute to drop out of CPAC." The group claimed, "This comes at a critical time in our movement's history. His decision sends a clear message to grassroots conservatives." The ACU said it remains "neutral" on the presidential race.
However, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that Trump had made the right decision. “Trump was right to skip CPAC. The votes are in Kansas not Washington. Why give the anti-trump activists a target.”
Republicans are in a disarray after failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivered a speech on March 4 in which he sought to tear down Trump, calling into question his judgement and experience and referring to him as a “fraud.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has exchanged barbs with Trump, on and off the debates. Rubio is using the #NeverTrump hashtag on Twitter after calling the lead Republican candidate a “con artist.”
Sen. Ted Cruz slammed Trump at an appearance at CPAC today. He said, “I think somebody told him Megyn Kelly was gonna be here!” referring to Trump’s last minute decision to skip the conference. He also mocked Trump’s so-called “flexibility” on immigration issues.
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