When President Trump takes the stage at CPAC on Friday at 10 a.m. ET, there will likely be as many optimistic conservatives inside the Maryland convention center as there are suspicious.
But no matter how you define Trump’s conservative bonafides, it appears to be the first time in decades a Republican president — whose party controls both chambers of Congress — can implement a largely conservative agenda.
“We conservatives have an opportunity that only comes around every few generations,” Vice President Pence told CPAC on Thursday. “My friends, this is our time.”
There are some conservatives who will never embrace the former Democrat who, according to the Associated Press, once elicited boos at the conference now held annually at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Maryland.
Trump addressed CPAC in 2011 and was booed when he said crowd-favorite Rep. Ron Paul “cannot get elected.” Paul and his son Sen. Rand Paul usually dominate the conference’s straw poll. Sen. Ted Cruz won last year’s poll and Trump came in a modest third.
Trump skipped last year’s event during the presidential primary and the group, in response, said the decision “sends a clear message to conservatives.”
The Guardian newspaper wrote, “As the real estate developer said of Ron Paul in 2011, “I think he’s a good guy but honestly he has zero chance of being elected. You have to win an election.” Trump won that election, and this will be first time that the conservative movement under Trump will be on full display.”