Trump to deliver first post-presidency speech as CPAC keynote address


President Donald Trump speaks with his supporters at Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One for the last time as president on January 20, 2021 at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Pete Marovich | Swimming pool | fake images

Former President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a keynote address to close the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, next weekend, sources familiar with the plans told NBC News.

Trump is expected to talk about the future of the Republican Party and the Conservative movement, sources familiar with the plan say.

The full lineup has yet to be announced and is subject to change.

The event would be Trump’s first extended public appearance on camera since he left office last month.

In recent weeks, Trump has remained infuriated by major Republicans who reject him, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell; Senator John Thune, the second Senate Republican; and former Republican political agent Karl Rove, according to people familiar with the matter.

Trump’s spokesman, Jason Miller, responded to CNBC’s request for comment on the matter by sending an email: “Fake news. We are focused on getting the House and Senate back in 2022.”

The former president said he plans to back several primary contenders who support his “Make America Great Again” agenda.

Advisers have told Trump that Republican voters do not want to see an all-out war in the Republican Party, according to their own strategists. Instead, voters would prefer that Trump focus his attacks on Biden and top Democrats, advisers say.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, Trump advocate in Congress, tweeted that Republicans will be rejected by the party rank and file if they don’t embrace the former president’s agenda.

Meanwhile, although Trump avoided conviction in his second impeachment trial, he now faces several serious criminal and civil investigations that could be more difficult to overcome. At least one investigation has the potential for Trump to be sent to jail if convicted. As of January 20, he lost protection from prosecution while serving as president.

“There are a lot of balls in the air in the potential criminal arena, and if I were Donald Trump, I wouldn’t be calm,” said Joseph Tacopina, a leading criminal defense attorney in New York City.

Trump spoke at CPAC several times during his presidency, often delivering some of his longest speeches, and he used his comments to energize his conservative base.

Organizers of the event last year came under fire for their Covid-19 screening precautions after a New Jersey man who attended CPAC tested positive for the coronavirus.

This year’s event will run from Thursday, February 25 through Sunday, February 28, and Trump is expected to close out the events for the weekend.

– CNBC’s Dan Mangan and Brian Schwartz contributed to this report

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