American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp says he suspects President Trump will attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) later this month for the second year in a row.
“I think he’s coming. Nothing certain, but I think I’ll be able to give a favorable response soon,” Schlapp said in an interview with The Hill's opinion team this week.
CPAC’s annual convention, which opens Feb. 21 at the National Harbor complex in suburban Washington, is widely regarded as the Super Bowl of conservative politics.
Trump was greeted with chants of his name and “USA” during a triumphant appearance last year by the president, who bashed the media repeatedly and promised to toss immigrants in the U.S. illegally out of the country.
That appearance was a bit of a turnaround for Trump, who hasn’t always been CPAC’s favorite son.
Trump's uneasy relationship with the CPAC faithful was illustrated in 2016 when he pulled out of a planned appearance at the conference amid backlash from some conservatives, even though he was leading the GOP primaries.
Attendees voted for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) as their favorite presidential candidate in 2016, and for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) every year from 2013–2015 in CPAC's closely watched straw poll.
Schlapp, who is married to White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp, said he believed CPAC attendees have taken a more favorable view of Trump since he was elected.
“They’re overjoyed. They’re gratified. You pick the issue area, and Donald Trump has made more change than we’ve seen in decades,” he said.
He said this year’s theme for the conference, “The time for action,” was based on what attendees want out of Trump — and Congress — in the days ahead.
“I think what they really want to see … they want to know what we’re going to do this year."
To watch the full interview between Schlapp and The Hill contributor editor Rudy Takala, click the video above.