Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis confirmed to speak at CPAC 2022

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Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis confirmed to speak at CPAC 2022

​Former President Donald Trump will headline the annual Conservative Political Action Conference due to take place in Orlando later this month.

The 45th president made the announcement in a video posted by Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union, on his Twitter account.

“I’ll be attending CPAC again this year in Orlando, Florida,” Trump said. “I will see you soon. Going to be a fantastic crowd … let’s have fun.”

Trump, who has been a regular at CPAC since his first appearance in 2011, said he urged Schlapp and the organizers to get a “bigger ballroom this year.”

“Last year it was packed and there were thousands of people outside, and they said ‘we’re going to get a real big one,’” he said.

Other scheduled speakers at CPAC include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

The annual gathering could function as an early preview of a potential 2024 Republican presidential primary between DeSantis and Trump.

Neither has announced a formal intention to run, but DeSantis is widely expected to throw his hat in the ring and Trump has teased a political comeback as he holds campaign-style rallies around the country.

The two Florida Republicans have also been indirectly critical of each other in public.

DeSantis became a GOP star during the COVID-19 pandemic by playing up his opposition to lockdowns as well as mask and vaccine mandates, selling the Sunshine State as “freedom’s vanguard.”

In an interview on the “Ruthless” podcast last month, the Florida governor said he regrets not having “been much louder” in opposition when then-President Trump called for widespread lockdowns in the early days of the pandemic. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is scheduled to speak at CPAC later this month.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

​”I never thought in February, early March [2020], that [coronavirus] would lead to locking down the country,” ​he said on the podcast. “I just didn’t. I didn’t think that was on the radar.”

T​rump, meanwhile, recently blasted politicians who refuse to admit whether they got a coronavirus booster shot as “gutless,” in what many see as a veiled attack against DeSantis, who won’t divulge that information.

​”I watched a couple politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get a booster?’ Because they had the vaccine, and they’re answering like — in other words, the answer is ‘yes’ but they don’t want to say it, because they’re gutless,” Trump told​ One America News Network. 

A recent poll of Florida voters by Suffolk University/USA Today shows that Trump would defeat DeSantis by 47 percent to 40 percent in a 2024 primary race in the Sunshine state. 

The 2022 edition of CPAC is scheduled to take place Feb. 24-27.

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