From "America Uncancelled" to "Protecting Our Elections": The Variances Between CPAC 2022 and 2023
At the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Former President Trump, his former White House strategist Steve Bannon, and Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz took aim at the Biden administration's aid to Ukraine, which has emerged as a wedge issue in the upcoming Republican primary election. While the majority of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle widely support aid to the embattled country, Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have taken a more protectionist stance and indicated a willingness to cut off Kyiv.
While the recent CPAC featured some of the same speakers as last year's event, such as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, there were notable differences in the focus and tone of the gathering. Former President Donald Trump and his strongest supporters used the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week to rail against the administration’s foreign policy - and current domestic issues. Last CPAC, Donald Trump lead the night after a line of Republican contenders seeking his endorsement.
In 2022, CPAC speakers, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, had been accused of condemning law enforcement for investigating elected officials suspected of criminal behavior. An assailant who was present during the January 6th Capitol attack attempted to breach an FBI building in Cincinnati, exchanged gunfire with officers while fleeing the scene, and posted threats against the FBI on Trump's social media site Truth Social. The posts encouraged members to “kill the FBI on sight” and any other “active enemies of the people” who might try to stop them. In addition, CPAC drew attention for defending January 6th rioters who harmed police officers, with a mock jail cell intended to represent those imprisoned for participating in the attack.
Former President Donald Trump, who is currently under investigation for his role in inciting the January 6th attacks, concluded CPAC with a keynote address. Days after his appearance, the FBI executed a search warrant on the former President’s Mar-a-Lago home in connection with a separate investigation into the unlawful handling of classified documents. In addition, a significant number of CPAC speakers are on record promoting the Big Lie or denying the legitimacy of the 2020 election, even in the days after the deadly January 6th riots which sought to overturn the election results.