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This week in the nation’s capital, the world’s “largest and most influential gathering of conservatives” will focus on “Protecting America Now,” Matt Schlapp, chairman of the Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC), told The Epoch Times.
“We feel like the Biden administration is not protecting America now,” Schlapp said, “and we want to call for that to start to be reversed immediately.”
CPAC, a grassroots organization that dates back a half-century, released its full schedule for the March 1–4 event on Feb. 27.
The first speaker on the agenda is U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Jordan’s prominence on the schedule signifies his importance as chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, Schlapp said. Republicans regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2022 midterm election.
Helping to wrap up the final day of the conference will be former President Donald Trump, who is now running to become the Republican Party’s presidential nominee again.
Other speakers include Trump’s two declared challengers, biotechnology entrepreneur and author Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. At last check, a long-rumored potential contender, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was absent from the schedule. But organizers say some speakers were still being finalized.
Here is the schedule obtained exclusively by The Epoch Times:
The event serves as the unofficial “starter’s gun” to kick off the presidential campaign season, Schlapp said; attendees expect to hear from the person who will be the next president of the United States, he said.
As previously reported, DeSantis faces an unusual hurdle to any potential presidential run: Florida law would require him to resign from the governorship if he were to “qualify” to hold a federal office during his unfinished term. But the law is somewhat unclear as to when he would have to resign if the law remains unchanged.
Attendees also will hear from other powerful voices in the American conservative movement, including Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee; Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.; and non-politicians such as news media representatives and industry leaders.
Comer and Jordan are “going to be galactically impactful,” Schlapp predicted, “and I think that is we’re gonna spend a lot of time talking about that.”
CPAC says it “brings together hundreds of conservative organizations, thousands of activists, millions of viewers and the best and brightest leaders in the world.”
Everyday People Involved
“What’s great about CPAC is it’s not all about big donors. It’s about grassroots activists,” Schlapp said. People wearing T-shirts and sneakers have “a front-row seat” to hear from some of the nation’s most influential conservative leaders. Anyone who plunks down the registration fees can attend.
“It’s a three-day crash course in the state of your country in the Constitution,” Schlapp added. “You will hear from all the experts on all the threats and all the opportunities, all the elected officials who are making a difference. I mean, it’s like it’s almost too much.”
The organization, which dates back to 1964 and has held conferences since 1974, returned its conference to the D.C. “swamp” with some trepidation, Schlapp said.
“Most people have abandoned these big, broken ‘blue’ cities and moved to ‘red America,’” Schlapp said, referring to Democrat vs. Republican areas. “It’s hard to get ‘red America’ to want to come back to the nation’s capital. But I think they also feel compelled to reclaim the idea that this is their capital, too. And I think they’re really encouraged … that Republicans will do the right thing with the majority they’ve gotten in the House. They’re excited to hear from President Trump and others who want to be the nominee.”
Many Threats Face US
Asked about the top threats to the United States, Schlapp rattled off a laundry list of concerns, ranging from school boards indoctrinating children with leftist ideology to national security imperiled by a porous southern border and our nation’s airspace traversed by Chinese spy balloons.
“It’s an alarming time; we’re not protecting this country,” Schlapp said. “We’re not protecting our founding document, the Constitution. We’re not protecting our border, we’re not protecting our families. We’re not protecting people so that they can be secure in their homes.”
Instead, he said, our safety forces, including police and the military are under attack. “We are on the wrong course in every way—and that those are not my opinions; look at the polls,” he said.
Poll Helps Guide Priorities
A “straw poll” is a fixture at CPAC, and it will reveal what attendees think about some of the biggest issues. And the results of that poll will help guide the conservative movement.
Despite the challenges America is facing, Schlapp remains optimistic about our nation’s future: “We have what other people just don’t have. We have the American people, and they are a good and decent and tolerant people.”
Our nation has traditionally rewarded success and innovation and has remained strong because “we put God at the center of things. And we’ve done it in a way where we still fight for religious freedom for people to practice their faith as they see it,” Schlapp said.
He hopes attendees leave inspired.
“I get told that CPAC is much like a revival,” he said. “You feel enthused. You feel like you can still save this country. You feel like your voice can make a difference.”
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