GOP gay-rights group brings Donald Trump to conservative gathering

Real estate mogul Donald Trump is set to make a last-minute appearance at CPAC on Thursday afternoon, a stop orchestrated with the help of GOProud, the conservative-leaning gay-rights group that's the focus of a boycott from several leading conservative organizations.

News of Trump's 3 p.m. speech has been spreading among attendees throughout the morning, with the help of GOProud's Chairman Chris Barron and other supporters of the group in attendance.

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Trump, who's flirting with a presidential bid in 2012, will also meet with the group Thursday afternoon.

Barron told The Ballot Box it makes sense to "bring somebody like Trump to CPAC," noting that he has a huge megaphone and the ability to "talk about the fiscal conservative issues that are really motivating and driving this country right now."

Barron is handing out literature urging attendees to vote for Trump in the CPAC straw poll.

Earlier Thursday morning, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) began the conference with a speech that urged GOP unity in 2012 and encouraged the crowd to not neglect social conservatives in favor of a sole focus on fiscal issues.

"We cannot shun each other in 2012," Bachmann said.

Barron said the reception from CPAC attendees has been "terrific" so far and that he expects Trump's appearance to further bridge the divide that GOProud's presence has created among some social conservatives.

"The boycotters are actively looking to undermine CPAC," he said. "We're working to bring new voices to the table. What I'm telling people: Liberals boycott. Conservatives debate."