GOP critics of Trump to gather in DC to offer CPAC ‘counterprogramming’
Republican figures opposed to former President Trump will gather in Washington, D.C., this weekend for an event that has been subbed “counterprogramming” of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is also set to take place this weekend.
Anti-Trump conservatives are set to attend a summit on Feb. 26 and Feb. 27 hosted by Principles First, an organization that describes itself as “a grassroots effort to rediscover and champion principles in the 21st century.”
The summit, according to the group, will focus on “conservatism’s meaning & the path to a more principled future for our country” through panels, speeches, networking and discussions concerning “the meaning of conservatism today and the future of our movement.”
Attendees will include conservatives, independents, thought leaders and grassroots activists, according to the organization.
Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) are both slated to speak.
Their appearances will be roughly three weeks after the Republican National Committee voted to censure them for their criticisms of Trump and participation in the House select committee’s investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
Cheney and Kinzinger are the only two Republicans serving on the panel.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R), retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — who was a principal figure in Trump’s first impeachment proceedings — and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn — who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 — will all speak as well.
Republican lawyer Heath Mayo, who founded Principles First for America, told CBS News that this weekend’s event would “certainly be counterprogramming of CPAC,” and give anti-Trump Republicans an opportunity to gather and consider whether they can unite around a candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
“We want to come together in a visual show of support for people who have taken stands for ideas when it hasn’t been comfortable,” Mayo told CBS News.
“You don’t see those folks, yet, in rooms that are energized. But I think the energy is there. We’ll see how many folks show up,” he added.
He said he believes a “lane” exists for an anti-Trump candidate in 2024. He specifically named Cheney and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
“The party is completely stuck in a rut talking about if the last election is legitimate and if Liz Cheney, Hogan, or someone else is compelling and wants to run, I think a lot of people would listen,” Mayo said.