Trump bails on CPAC speech

An already bizarre primary season just became screwier. Donald Trump’s scheduled Saturday night prime time speech to CPAC was drawing envious criticism from other candidates, but no more: it has been cancelled. Needless to say, everyone is blaming someone else. Kenneth Vogel reports at Politico:

Donald Trump spent five years building a mutually beneficial relationship with the organization that hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, filling its coffers with at least $150,000 in cash and scoring coveted speaking slots that started him on a course towards winning the Republican presidential nomination.

But he ended up canceling what would have been his biggest CPAC speech at the last minute amid plans for protest and disruptions, apparently deciding that his surging presidential campaign no longer needed any boost from the once-storied group.

The Trump camp claims that it was simply a matter of putting campaigning in Kansas, where the primary voting is taking place today ahead of an appearance at the largest yearly gathering of conservatives:

[Cory] Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, denied that ACU’s insistence on the question-and-answer session had anything to do with the last-minute cancellation.

“No candidate in the race for President has answered more questions than Mr. Trump. He has done more interviews than all the candidates combined,” Lewandowski emailed. He suggested that the decision was solely based on the calculation that it was a better use of time to be in Kansas on Saturday, when the state is holding its GOP primary.

“Delegates available in KS tomorrow,” he added, pointing to a campaign statement explaining that Trump would be holding a rally in Kansas Saturday, then planned to travel to Florida, which holds its pivotal primary on March 15.

“Because of this,” the statement read, Trump “will not be able to speak at CPAC as he has done for many consecutive years. Mr. Trump would like to thank Matt Schlapp and all of the executives at CPAC and looks forward to returning to next year, hopefully as President of the United States.”

CPAC often resembles a bit of a circus, with attendees walking around in Uncle Sam outfits, and assorted businesses seeking to promote themselves, with the sponsoring ACU trying to satisfy donors while maintaining the appearance of a major legitimate representative of all conservatives.

My perspective is that everyone involved is coming off badly in this contretemps. And it will all be forgotten in another week or so. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

An already bizarre primary season just became screwier. Donald Trump’s scheduled Saturday night prime time speech to CPAC was drawing envious criticism from other candidates, but no more: it has been cancelled. Needless to say, everyone is blaming someone else. Kenneth Vogel reports at Politico:

Donald Trump spent five years building a mutually beneficial relationship with the organization that hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, filling its coffers with at least $150,000 in cash and scoring coveted speaking slots that started him on a course towards winning the Republican presidential nomination.

But he ended up canceling what would have been his biggest CPAC speech at the last minute amid plans for protest and disruptions, apparently deciding that his surging presidential campaign no longer needed any boost from the once-storied group.

The Trump camp claims that it was simply a matter of putting campaigning in Kansas, where the primary voting is taking place today ahead of an appearance at the largest yearly gathering of conservatives:

[Cory] Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, denied that ACU’s insistence on the question-and-answer session had anything to do with the last-minute cancellation.

“No candidate in the race for President has answered more questions than Mr. Trump. He has done more interviews than all the candidates combined,” Lewandowski emailed. He suggested that the decision was solely based on the calculation that it was a better use of time to be in Kansas on Saturday, when the state is holding its GOP primary.

“Delegates available in KS tomorrow,” he added, pointing to a campaign statement explaining that Trump would be holding a rally in Kansas Saturday, then planned to travel to Florida, which holds its pivotal primary on March 15.

“Because of this,” the statement read, Trump “will not be able to speak at CPAC as he has done for many consecutive years. Mr. Trump would like to thank Matt Schlapp and all of the executives at CPAC and looks forward to returning to next year, hopefully as President of the United States.”

CPAC often resembles a bit of a circus, with attendees walking around in Uncle Sam outfits, and assorted businesses seeking to promote themselves, with the sponsoring ACU trying to satisfy donors while maintaining the appearance of a major legitimate representative of all conservatives.

My perspective is that everyone involved is coming off badly in this contretemps. And it will all be forgotten in another week or so. Sound and fury, signifying nothing.