- The Washington Times
Monday, February 22, 2021

Top organizers of the Conservative Political Action Conference said they think it’s a “mistake” that former Vice President Mike Pence has declined to speak at this year’s event, while former President Trump accepted his invitation.

“We are pleased that the president is going to be joining us, and we’re disappointed the vice president’s not coming,” CPAC Executive Director Dan Schneider said on MSNBC Sunday. “We think that it’s a mistake for him not to come. We conservatives think of Vice President Pence with great honor and dignity. He is a real champion of conservatism.

“He’s spoken at CPAC 13, 14 times over the years, and I know if he were to come to CPAC, he would be treated very warmly with great respect,” he said. “And frankly, I really hope that he reconsiders, and if he wants to come, we’ll make room for him.”

Politico first reported Saturday that Mr. Pence had declined an invitation to the annual conference, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, this year instead of in Maryland. The news highlights the strained relationship between Mr. Pence and Mr. Trump since the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

According to CNN, “One source said organizers still hope to change Pence’s mind about attending, while another source said Pence is planning to stay under the radar for the next six months.”

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a primary organizer of CPAC, also said it was a “mistake” for Mr. Pence to avoid the event.

“His conservative record is well respected, and conservatives want to hear his take on the current threats posed by socialism and this radicalized Democrat Party,” Mr. Schlapp told CNN.

Mr. Trump is scheduled to speak at CPAC this Sunday, the final day of the conference.

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