It is nearly 8pm in Maryland and CPAC has come to an end. Here is a wrap-up of the conference’s highlights and beyond:
During a nearly two-hour address, Trump – the conference’s closing speaker – lamented his series of legal troubles, name-called his opponents, offered high praise towards his own presidency, made lofty promises such as evicting Joe Biden from the White House, preventing third world war and stopping the Russia-Ukraine war in “one day”. He also laid out a series of policies he’d enact as president, including “dismantling” the ‘woke mob,’ installing 200 more miles of border wall, and stripping gender-affirmation care and diversity & inclusion policies across the country. At nearly every pause of his two-hour tirade, the MAGA crowd cheered and hollered.
Far right Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert also took the stage at CPAC. As she yelled into her mic, she threw around words like “woke” (a bad thing in her view, when it’s schools teaching America’s racial history) and “defund” (good in her view when it’s Republicans taking money away from what she considers sketchy federal agencies).
Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who was defeated by his comeback challenger from the left Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in recent elections, spoke at CPAC and condemned condemned self-determination in gender identity, and gun safety laws. He then issued high praise towards Trump.
Beyond CPAC, self-help author Marianne Williamson officially became the first Democrat to run for the presidency in 2024 in a challenge to US president Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. She kicked off another long-shot campaign in Washington DC earlier today. Leading Democrats, meanwhile, are lining up behind a Biden for a second term.
Minnesota governor Tim Walz has signed a law that will restore voting rights to more than 55,000 felons who complete their prison terms. According to the governor’s office, the law “restores the civil right to vote to individuals who have been convicted of a felony upon their completion of any incarceration imposed and executed for the conviction.”
That’s it from me, Maya Yang, as we wrap up the blog for today. Thank you for following along.
Minnesota governor Tim Walz has signed a law that will restore voting rights to more than 55,000 felons who complete their prison terms.
On Friday, Walz signed House File 28, which according to the governor’s office, “restores the civil right to vote to individuals who have been convicted of a felony upon their completion of any incarceration imposed and executed for the conviction.”
The bill also requires Department of Corrections or judiciary system officials to provide a written notice and a voter registration application to individuals upon their release from incarceration.
“Minnesotans who have completed time for their offenses and are living, working, and raising families in their communities deserve the right to vote. As a state that consistently ranks among the top three in voter turnout, Minnesota will continue to lead in the fight to protect and expand the right to vote,” said Walz.
“I am grateful to the community members, organizers, and legislators who are committed to strengthening the freedom to vote and ensuring every Minnesotan has a voice in our democracy,” he added.
“We will cross the finish line, we will dismantle the deep state, we will destroy the deep state…and we will make America great and powerful again. We need to have a powerful country. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America strong again… We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again…and we will make America great again,” Trump said he in his closing remarks.
Trump’s closing words follow a nearly two-hour long speech that included name-calling, attacks against the ‘woke,’ and lofty promises including ending the Russia-Ukraine war in one day.
“I will move heaven and earth to finally secure our elections,” said Trump, as he called for paper ballots, same-day voting and voter ID.
“But until that day comes, Republicans must compete with every lawful means to win,” he said.
Trump has listed out a series of policies he plans to get rid of if he becomes president.
“I will revoke every Biden policy promoting the chemical castration and sexual mutilization and ask Congress to send me a bill prohibiting child sexual mutilation in all 50 states,” said Trump.
“And we will keep men out of women’s sports,” he added as he lashed out against trans rights and gender affirmation surgeries.
Trump went on to say that he will “destroy the illegal censorship regime and bring back free speech in America because we do not have it.”
“And I will stop Joe Biden’s demolition of ur economy with his crushing inflation and mass layoffs. We will take care of inflation very quickly.”
He also said that he will hold China “financially accountable” for ‘causing’ the Covid-19 vaccine and attacked the World Health Organization, calling it “We Hide Outbreaks.”
Trump said in attempts to stop the flow of illegal drugs, he will “take down the cartels” the same way that he took down the ISIS caliphate.
“We’re going to do another 200 miles of wall,” said Trump as he promises stricter crackdown on border crossings.
“We will seal it up and expand that wall until we have total control,” he added, pledging to make the first reconciliation bill he signs in the White House one that ensures more ICE border patrol agents and increased deportations.
“They’re emptying out their prisons…and their…insane asylums,” referring to the countries that refugees on the southern border are fleeing from (many of whom are in fact fleeing political violence, dire economic circumstances and persecution).
He then compared the so-called “insane asylums” as the ones featured in the 1991 thriller Silence of the Lambs.
“Before I arrive in the Oval Office, I will have the disastrous war between Russia and Ukraine ended,” said Trump, adding that he will get it done in “one day.”
“I know what to say,” he added.
Trump warns of third world war, saying he's the only candidate that can prevent it
“This is the most dangerous time in our country’s history, and Joe Biden is leading us into oblivion,” said Trump as he went on to criticize the 2021 US pullout of Afghanistan that was spearheaded by the Biden administration.
“And you’re going to have world war three, by the way. We’re going to have world war three if something doesn’t happen fast,” Trump said.
“I am the only candidate who can make this promise: I will prevent world war three,” he said.
“I was the only president…where Russia didn’t take over a country during my term… I said, ‘Vladimir, don’t do it,’” said Trump, referring to the Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“With me, they took nothing and I didn’t even really have to threaten them very much. Putin knew that, [Chinese] president Xi knew that too,” he added.
“It would have never happened with me” Trump said as he condemned the alliance between China, Iran and Russia, blaming the closeness of the countries on the US’s “stupid oil policies.”
“Stopping the slide into costly…wars,” said Trump as he lists out his priorities should he become president.
He then went on a tirade against NATO members and how he urged other countries to “pay up” or lose American protection against any Russian threats.
“In 2016, I declared: I am your voice. Today, I add: I am your warrior. I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed: I am your retribution,” Trump said.
“I will totally obliterate the deep state. I will fire the unelected bureaucrats and shadow forces who have weaponized our justice system. And I will put the people back in charge of this country again,” he added.
He went on to attack the Biden administration, calling it the most “corrupt administration in American history.”
He also lashed out at Hunter Biden, calling him a “criminal” before calling Joe Biden a “criminal” as well.
The Guardian’s David Smith is in the room and will have a full report later.
The crowd has broken into applause and chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” as he promised to win the 2024 presidential campaign.
“When we win in 2024, we will do it again, even stronger, faster and better because now I am experienced,” he added.
“I know the people of Washington… I didn’t know them [before], I was from New York… But now I know the good ones, the bad ones, the weak ones, the strong ones, I know them all.”
The crowd then broke out into another chant, yelling, “USA! USA! USA!” to which Trump responded, “I didn’t know this was a rally. It really is a rally.”
Trump took a jab at Mitch McConnell, Republican minority leader of the Senate, saying, “We are never going to be a country ruled by…China loving politicians of which there are many.”
“You listening to this, Mitch McConnell, you listening?” he added.
Trump has previously attacked McConnell of being sympathetic to China, and has also called his wife and former transport secretary, Elaine Chao, “China’s loving wife.”
Trump went on to pledge that he will “beat the Democrats…and evict Joe Biden from the White House.”
“We will liberate America from these villains and scoundrels once and for all. When we started this journey, a journey like there has never been before…we had a Republican party that was ruled by freaks, neocons, globalist open borders zealots, and fools,” Trump added, lashing out at other members of the GOP.
“We are never going back to a party that wants to give unlimited money to fight foreign wars that are endless wars, that are stupid,” he continued, appearing to refer to the Ukraine war against the Russian invasion.
Trump: 'We are going to finish what we started'
Donald Trump has walked on stage, opening his address with the “greatest battle of our lives taking place as we speak” and that “we are going to finish what we started,” to which the crowd responded with “Four more years, four more years!”
He also attacked the “people…who want to…turn this nation into a socialist dumping ground for criminals, junkies, Marxists, thugs, radicals and dangerous refugees that no other country wants…”
“If those opposing us succeed, our once beautiful will be a failed country,” he added.
This is hardly news to those following CPAC but Donald Trump just crushed it in the straw poll at the event asking who should be the Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election.
Trump received 62% support from those polled. Florida’s right-wing governor and Trump wannabe, Ron DeSantis, trailed with 20% support. DeSantis, of course, has not (yet) declared his candidacy for the White House.
DeSantis notably stayed away from CPAC as did many other senior Republicans.
Former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley is the highest-profile Republican running against Trump so far for the nomination, with others expected to follow soon, including perhaps Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott and others. Pompeo was at CPAC yesterday, Pence and Scott also stayed away as did Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell.
It’s been a lively day at CPAC so far and soon the right-wing carnival in Maryland will play host to Donald Trump as the former president gives the closing keynote speech at the multi-day event. We’ll have a live stream of his appearance, so stay with the blog.
Here’s where things stand:
Beyond CPAC, self-help author Marianne Williamson officially became the first Democrat to run for the presidency in 2024 in a challenge to US president Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination. She kicked off another long-shot campaign in Washington, DC, earlier today. Leading Democrats, meanwhile, are lining up behind a Biden for a second term.
Far right Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert threw around words like “woke” (a bad thing in her view, when it’s schools teaching America’s racial history) and “defund” (good in her view when it’s Republicans taking money away from what she considers sketchy federal agencies) when she took to the stage at CPAC.
Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, who was defeated by his comeback challenger from the left Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in recent elections, spoke at CPAC and condemned poverty, discrimination and environmental destruction – kidding, he condemned self-determination in gender identity, and gun safety laws.
Donald Trump is last but not least of the speakers at CPAC today.
The Texas Republican party has voted to censure House representative Tony Gonzales over his recent party-splitting votes in Congress.
On Saturday, the State Republican Executive Committee voted 57-5 on the censure resolution.
The censure resolution “cited his support for the bipartisan gun law that passed last year, as well as his vote for a bill codifying protections for same-sex marriage. The resolution also pointed to his vote against the House rules package in January and his opposition to a border security bill being pushed by fellow Texas GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Austin,” the Texas Tribune reports.
In a news conference on Thursday, Gonzales, a moderate Republican, defended his vote for the bipartisan gun law, saying, “I would vote twice on it if I could.”
“The reality is I’ve taken almost 1,400 votes, and the bulk of those have been with the Republican Party,” he added.
Marianne Williamson becomes first Democrat to challenge Biden
Self-help author Marianne Williamson has become the first Democrat to challenge president Joe Biden.
“I, as of today, am a candidate for the office of president of the United States,” Williamson said in a campaign kickoff in Washington DC on Saturday, the Associated Press reports.
“We need to submit to the American people an agenda of fundamental economic reform, universal healthcare, tuition-free colleges at state colleges and universities, higher education including tech schools, paternity and maternity leave, free childcare and a guaranteed living wage,” Williamson said in her campaign video.
“What the Democratic party should do is to truly return to the principles of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, not just alleviate people’s suffering but offer them genuine economic reform,” the New York Times bestselling author added.
In 2019, Williamson announced her presidential campaign for the 2020 election but went on to suspend her campaign a year later and endorsed Bernie Sanders instead.
“It’s time we get real leadership back in the White House, someone who actually cares about you and puts you first,” Boebert said as she praised Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign.
“We have just begun winning. We took back the House and I’m excited about our slim majority because that gave us leverage,” she added.
“I can’t wait to drag the '[Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] into oversight and remind them of [separation of power],” Boebert added.
She went on to call for more secure borders and said that “we are not going to fund a borderless country…we are not going to fund tyranny,” she said.
Lauren Boebert condemns 'woke' federal agencies, promising to defund them
“We need to get more aggressive… There are many things we must do…that you American people have entrusted with,” said Colorado representative Lauren Boebert who has taken the stage following Lindell.
“We are going to make sure that all of these agencies that have been working against you…have an audit and if there is any woke program in these agencies, it is immediately defunded,” she said.
“We now fund the government as intended… This is our opportunity to not just get spending under control but to ensure that we have the right policies… Every diversity, equity, inclusion program…every woke initiative in our military must be uprooted and completely defunded,” she added.
“We will demand schools stop teaching our children to hate their country, hate their classmate for the color of their skin… Every one of these agencies need an audit… The federal government has become too big,” Boebert said.
“We want same-day voting, paper ballots, hand-counted. That’s going to save our country!” said Lindell as the crowd cheered.
“One machine, one button…just like how you send Gmails into the abyss, that’s how you send your votes into the abyss,” he said about voting machines.
“We are in the greatest revival for Jesus Christ in history,” Lindell went on to say.
“If we don’t get rid of the machines, we’re going to lose our country to the world,” Lindell told crowds, referring to voting machines which he previously claimed resulted in voting errors and a ‘stolen’ election.
CEO of MyPillow Mike Lindell is now due to address CPAC. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates.
“I’ve always admired the American people. Brazil is important for the world. Today, more than one billion people depend on Brazil to be able to eat. We have mineral riches that few countries have in the world,” said Bolsonaro.
“We have an abundant amount of drinkable water, we have an Amazon that belongs to us, Brazilians. I invite all of you to visit the Amazon forest. Please come to visit!” Bolsonaro added in his closing remarks.
“Just like all of you, I will have the pleasure of watching Donald Trump come on stage. I was the last president in the world to recognize the results of the election in America two years ago… I am still faithful to our motto – God, homeland, faith and liberty,” said Bolsonaro as he ended his 15-minute address.
Bolsonaro condemns gender identity, gun control and praises Trump at CPAC
“I don’t understand why the numbers reflected the opposite,” Bolsonaro said about Brazil’s 2022 election result which saw him lose to opponent Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, despite him claiming to have far more supporters in 2022 than he did in 2018.
“When we speak of conservatism, what we fight for are basic things – family. We don’t want gender ideology. We want children growing, looking up to their fathers, boys and girls looking up to their mothers,” he added.
“In Brazil, private property is threatened. Private property is one of the pillars of democracy… In my government, I relaxed as much as I could regulations on gun ownership and in four years, we were able to reduce 1/3rd the amount of deaths by firearms in Brazil,” Bolsonaro continued.
“I always said in Brazil, an armed people will never be enslaved. And an armed nation will never be subjugated. And it’s indispensable to tell all of you that my relationship with Donald Trump was simply exceptional. And now, we know, who is right. We are right or they are right?” he asked the crowd, to which it responded, “We are right!”
“I thank God…for being the president of Brazil for one term…but I feel deep inside, this mission is not over,” Bolsonaro tells a whooping crowd at CPAC.
“Populism, communism, corruption always dominated politics in Brazil,” he added as he detailed his campaign trail across Brazil, meeting supporters throughout the nation.
“I always defended freedom, I did not force anyone to be vaccinated in Brazil,” Bolsonaro said about his management of the Covid-19 pandemic in his country as the crowd rose to standing ovation.
“They keep saying science, science, science…but what I say is freedom, freedom, freedom,” he said, referring to medical experts in Brazil who advocated for the Covid-19 vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is expected to take the stage soon at CPAC. Stay tuned as we bring you the latest updates of his address.
The white supremacist and antisemite Nick Fuentes was removed from the conference, CPAC chairman Matt Schlapp said in an Instagram post yesterday.
“We removed Nick Fuentes from his attempt to attend our conference. His hateful racist rhetoric and actions are not consistent with the mission of CPAC.”
“We are pleased that our conference welcomes a wide array of conservative perspectives from people of different backgrounds, but we are concerned about the rise in antisemitic rhetoric (or Jew hatred) in our country and around the globe, whether it be in the corridors of power and academia or through the online rantings of bigots like Fuentes,” he added.
Fuentes, who at point point dined with Trump and rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, is a notable figure among the extremist right and has previously spewed bigoted lies such as the denial of the Holocaust.
I bumped into Nigel Farage, a British politician, broadcaster and demagogue, wandering the corridors and asked if he agrees with the conventional wisdom that CPAC feels flat and marginal this year.
Farage, who has been coming to CPAC for a decade, suggested that the only thing missing is young people. “Trump is not new,” he observed. It’s true that student activists have been unusually thin on the ground here. Notably Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA, a fixture in past years, is not among the speakers.
Instead the big beast at CPAC is 69-year-old Steve Bannon, White House chief strategist turned far right podcaster. He seems to be broadcasting constantly on the Real America’s Voice channel from a stage set up just outside the ballroom that hosts the main stage.
Bannon – who is appealing his conviction and four month prison sentence for contempt of Congress – talks combatively into a microphone with a noisy “Maga” crowd gathered behind him, often blocking the corridor for people trying to get by. There is often more energy here than in the conference sessions themselves.
Today Bannon reprised his criticism of Fox News, “oligarch” Ken Griffin and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, his faint praise of Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Mike Pompeo as “good people” and his contention that, when it comes to the 2024 Republican primary election, there is no time for “on the job training”.
He said Donald Trump had given America “four years of peace and prosperity”. No doubt the former president is grateful. But it does imply that CPAC 2023 is looking more to the past than the future.
Trump set to take on CPAC as fringe crowd gathers
It’s the last day of CPAC, and the day’s schedule is lined up with speakers including former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and Colorado representative Lauren Boebert. But the largest spectacle has been saved for last – Donald Trump.
With Trump due to address the conservative conference later this afternoon, fringe crowds have gathered to watch him promise to “Make America great again”, despite an overall thinning crowd this year compared to previous conferences.
Over the past few days, several of Trump’s competitors of the 2024 presidential election made appearances at CPAC, including former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, as well as Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo.
Nevertheless, Trump remains the most popular person in the room, with numerous supporters parading Maga merchandise across the conference as they await his appearance.
As former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka said yesterday at the conference, CPAC is a gathering of the “hardcore Maga”.
Republican CPAC gathering revs up for Trump speech
Hello, US politics live blog readers, we have a special weekend edition of the blog today so we can bring you the happenings from the GOP’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on the outskirts of Washington.
Here’s what’s afoot:
Defeated former Brazilian president and arch populist Jair Bolsonaro is in self-exile in the US and has been hanging out in Florida, but this afternoon he will address the CPAC event.
The ultra-Maga programming will then continue with the crowd being addressed by Trump zealot, conspiracy theorist, 2020 election result denier and pillow seller Mike Lindell, followed by far right Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert.
Moderate Republican-turned-mega-Maga stan, and New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik will be next.
Donald Trump is the star, closing speaker at CPAC, due on stage at 5.25pm ET, but could well be late. We’ll have a live stream.