Donald Trump makes a return to the public eye with a speech today to the annual right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida, providing the finale to this right-wing nut fest. While CPAC is independent of the Republican party, CPAC drives much of the party’s agenda. So far, the event has been doubling down on the Big Lie that the election was stolen from him and the reasons for doing is obvious, because it gets the party faithful to open their wallets.
“Donald Trump convinced his base – a majority of Republicans, if polls are to be believed – that the election was stolen. Though the CPAC organizers likely know it’s false, they’re using this as a wedge issue to excite the base and sell more tickets,” said Nick Pasternak, who recently left the Republican party after working on several GOP campaigns.
He added: “CPAC’s willingness to make the election lie such a big issue this year is a concerning symbol of what many in the party think – and what they’ll do.”
Jay Williams, a Republican strategist in Georgia, said the focus on elections was a way to gin up support among the party’s faithful base, which remains largely loyal to Trump and his allies.
“I would not equate ‘the party’ with CPAC so I wouldn’t put much stock in it from that perspective,” he said. “CPAC exists to make money and so it’s no surprise to me the organizers have jumped on to this issue as a way to drive engagement of their target market.”
Meanwhile, some of you may remember that Don Jr.’s partner and former Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle gave a weird speech at the Republican national convention when she shouted like she was in a stadium full of thousands of people when she was actually in a studio. It seems like shouting is her thing, because she did it again at CPAC. Although this was in front of a live audience in a hotel ballroom, it did not seem to go down well either.
For one thing, despite our obvious ideological differences, there’s a part of me that can’t help but love Kimberly Guilfoyle. She so successfully channels the raw energy of a children’s TV presenter from an apocalyptic wasteland. “I love Florida!” she cried, bouncing out onstage tonight. “What’s not to love compared to California and New York, right?” There was no reaction from the audience, but she didn’t need it. Head down and smile pasted on, she just plowed straight on through.
Yes, Kim likes to bring the enthusiasm, and I respect that. She infamously screamed at the Republican National Convention that “THE BEST — IS YET — TO COME!” just before Trump lost the election, and no one could accuse her of lying. Today, she told us President Biden is “leading from behind. From behind Kamala, that is! Ha! True story!” After a pause for laughter that didn’t come, she added that America is crawling with “socialists and communists [who] want to see our nation burn.”
The Republican Party will be “reborn as a party of the working class and minorities,” Guilfoyle promised us, on the day minimum wage legislation came to a standstill in the Senate because of a lack of Republican support. President Trump himself, of course, referred to Black Lives Matter as a “symbol of hate” a few months ago. I guess the GOP must be one of those old “double bluff” parties, like how the Communist Party of China is secretly sponsored by Starbucks or how President Rouhani of Iran runs a world-leading feminist party but doesn’t like to boast about it.
Self-referential as they come, Kimberly finished off her own speech with the old catchphrase, “Yes! The best is yet to come!” before turning toward the stage and giving Don Jr a full WWE-style intro that will be scarred into the minds of attendees forever: “Please welcome THE SON OF THE LEADER OF THE WARRIOR MAGA MOVEMENT OF CONSERVATIVE VALUES, DONALD TRUMP JUNIORRRRRR!” And like he believed for a second that he’d been invited onstage at Madison Square Garden, Junior strutted out to booming music and greeted the audience with: ““HOW’S IT GOIN’, CPAC?” A lesser woman would have cringed. Kimberly, instead, glowed.
As the kids say these days, she needs to learn to read the room.