Trump at CPAC – live: Ex-president to give first speech after leaving office as rumours swirl around 2024 bid

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) enters its fourth day on Sunday with attendees gearing up for the culmination when it is rumoured Donald Trump will announce a 2024 presidential run.

Described as “Woodstock for election liars” by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, Joe Biden has said he will not be paying attention to the gathering in Orlando, Florida.

The former president will give his first speech since leaving office later with attention turned to whether he will use CPAC as the launchpad for a third presidential bid.

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Hyatt Hotels defends decision to host CPAC

Hyatt Hotels has defended its decision to host CPAC after facing criticism over its role in providing a venue for the conference.

Addressing calls for Hyatt hotels to be boycotted, the company said it was simply seeking to encourage an “inclusive environment”.

“We take pride in operating a highly inclusive environment and we believe that the facilitation of gatherings is a central element of what we do as a hospitality company,” a spokesperson for the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Florida said in a statement to Fox Business.

“We believe in the right of individuals and organizations to peacefully express their views, independent of the degree to which the perspectives of those hosting meetings and events at our hotels align with ours,” the spokesperson said, adding: “Our own values support a culture that is characterized by empathy, respect and diversity of opinions and backgrounds, and we strive to bring this to light through what we do and how we engage with those in our care.”

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 14:00

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CPAC Sunday officially kicks off

CPAC’s third and final day has officially kicked off, with Sunday’s general session events opening with a prayer led by Robert Whelan.

Landon Starbuck is singing the US National Anthem.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 13:46

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Mexico expected to ask Biden to share vaccine supply: Report

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is expected to ask President Joe Biden to consider sharing some of the US coronavirus vaccine supply with its southern neighbor when the two leaders meet at a virtual summit on Monday, Reuters has reported.

Citing US and Mexican officials, the press agency said Mr Lopez Obrador would ask for a loan of the US vaccine supplies, which would be paid back when vaccines Mexico has ordered are delivered later in the year.

Mr Biden is said to be open to discussing the possibility as part of a broader effort to address the global spread of Covid-19, Reuters reported, citing a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

In addition to discussing the pandemic, leaders are also expected to talk about immigration, along with law enforcement cooperation and economic development during the virtual summit.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 13:37

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to speak on CNN, Fox, as Trump prepares to take CPAC stage

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will be speaking on CNN and Fox News shortly.

“Nothing like joining @FoxNewsSunday and @CNNSotu to wake you up on a busy and newsy Sunday morning. See you soon,” the press secretary said in a tweet.

Her appearances will come as former President Donald Trump prepares to take the stage at CPAC later today, with the ex-leader expected to take aim at President Joe Biden’s efforts to undo his hardline immigration policies.

It is unclear if Ms Psaki will say anything about Mr Trump’s planned appearance, particularly given that the press secretary has already made clear that the White House will not be focused on whatever the former president has to say.

“Our focus is certainly not on what President Trump is saying” Ms Psaki told reporters ahead of the weekend’s events.

Bob Shrum, a former Democratic strategist and director of the Center for Political Future at University of Southern California, told Reuters he approved of the approach.

“Biden is obeying an old political rule, which is ‘Never get in the way of a train wreck’,” Mr Shrum said.

With Mr Biden’s approval ratings remaining above 55% in Gallup polls since he took office in January, Mr Shrum said: “Why should somebody with a 60 percent approval rating be fighting with someone with a 33 percent approval rating?”

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 13:23

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Vegas reportedly betting on Trump announcing 2024 election bid during CPAC speech

Vegas is betting on whether former President Donald Trump will announce a 2024 election bid during his speech at CPAC today, according to Fortune.

Mr Trump is expected to use his time on stage to talk about the future of the Republican Party, in addition to weighing in on President Joe Biden’s efforts to undo his hardline immigration policies.

However, it is unclear whether the former president will offer any news on his own future plans, including whether he hopes to make a second run for the Oval Office in 2024.

As of Friday morning, betting odds in Vegas were in favour of Trump being more likely than not to declare himself as the Republican nomination for President in the 2024 race.

“The betting markets seem confident that Trump will declare his candidacy during his speech, but not so much that he’ll be doing so as a member of a party that isn’t the GOP,” a US-Bookies spokesperson told Fortune at the time.

“The odds of Trump running in 2024 and not representing the Republican party are 4 to 1, which equates to just a 20% chance,” they added.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 13:12

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Biden team reportedly preparing economic package beyond Covid relief bill

President Joe Biden and lawmakers are reportedly working on a broader economic package that will look beyond the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill in an effort to provide a boost to the country’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

According to the Associated Press, Biden and his team have already started discussing what the infrastructure package could look like with members of Congress, with Texas’ recent difficulties with power outages and water shortages following a brutal storm sparking further discussion around the need for infrastructure spending. Gina McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser, told AP that the deadly winter storm should serve as a “wake-up call” to the need for major changes.

The press agency said a proposal for the economic package could come as soon as next month.

As AP noted, it is likely that the plan will face some resistance from Republicans, particularly given the cost such sweeping infrastructure changes would be likely to come with.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 12:55

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Controversial CPAC speaker honoured with Ronald Reagan award

Scott Presler, a controversial speaker at CPAC this weekend, was honoured with a Ronald Reagan award at the GOP event on Saturday, despite calls for his removal from the event’s agenda.

In the days ahead of the conservative conference, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had called on CPAC organizers to remove Mr Presler from the speaking line-up over his past involvement with “ACT for America”, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has branded an “anti-Muslim hate group” for pushing “wild anti-Muslim conspiracy theories”.

Despite calls for his removal, Mr Presler was honoured with the Ronald Reagan award, which is given out by the private Ronald Regan Presidential Foundation.

In a tweet on Saturday, Mr Presler said receiving the award was the “coolest gosh darn moment of my life”.

“None of this would have been possible without you,” he appeared to write to his followers.

“Mom & dad are here at my table and I couldn’t be a more proud son,” he said.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 12:38

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When is Donald Trump speaking at CPAC and how to watch

The Sunday line-up for CPAC today will see some key GOP speakers take the stage, including former US President Donald Trump himself.

The address will be live streamed on Independent TV, as well as on the CPAC 2021 website under the “Watch Live” tab.

It will also be carried on US networks.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 12:18

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MeidasTouch trolls GOP with projection outside CPAC venue linking party to QAnon

 Progressive PAC MeidasTouch has put up a projection outside the venue where the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is taking place in Florida appearing to link the GOP to QAnon.

Posting a photo of the projection, which shows the GOP’s logo, but with the “O” replaced with the “Q” icon that has come to represent QAnon, to Twitter MeidasTouch said it had undertaken the initiative in response to calls to hold Republicans “accountable”.

“You asked us to hold everyone at CPAC accountable, so we currently have this projection up on their white nationalist convention,” the PAC said in a tweet, branding Republicans white nationalists.

The PAC asked supporters to make a financial contribution to its efforts, asserting that it was “less than $17K away from paying for all our humiliating efforts for the GQP at CPAC this weekend” as of early Sunday morning.

MeidasTouch was created by three siblings, Ben Meiselas, Brett Meiselas and Jordan Meiselas, during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chantal Da Silva28 February 2021 12:05

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The Trump golden statue everyone is talking about was made in Mexico

The attention-grabbing golden statue of former president Donald Trump was made in Mexico, it has been revealed. 

Artist and American ex-pat Tommy Zegan travelled with the sculpture from Rosarito, just south of Tijuana close to the US border, to CPAC in Florida. 

Politico reported that Mr Zegan crafted the statue, which weighs more than 200lbs, over six months with the help of three others. He then took it to Tampa, Florida where it was painted in chrome, and from there he drove it to CPAC in Orlando. 

Tom Batchelor28 February 2021 11:31

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