GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is canceling his appearance and speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
In a statement, the Trump campaign said that the GOP frontrunner has other obligations and “because of this, he will not be able to speak at CPAC, as he has done for many consecutive years.“
Trump was scheduled to speak at the conference on Saturday morning near Washington, D.C. CPAC, which is hosted by the American Conservative Union, has been a must-attend event for conservative power players for decades. Trump will now skip the appearance and instead speak at tomorrow’s Kansas caucus and then depart for a Florida rally.
CPAC tweeted: “Very disappointed @realDonaldTrump has decided at the last minute to drop out of #CPAC — his choice sends a clear message to conservatives.”
Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich are still scheduled to attend the event.
CPAC head Matt Schlapp appeared on Fox News today, saying “for whatever reason, he decided he would not show up this year.”
Trump has been a crowd favorite at several CPAC events in the past, but Schlapp says he felt “uncomfortable” this time around.
“We have a good relationship with him. We have respect for him,” Schlapp said. “There was a format that everyone agreed to, that’s the way it has to be for every candidate. We simply will have no flexibility.”
The format is simple: If a candidate gives a speech, he must also do Q&A.
“When you watch him on the road, he has no problem giving speeches,” Schlapp told Fox News. “In fairness to Donald Trump, he’s got no problem answering questions. He gives press conferences all the time. But if you’re going to come to CPAC, you’ve got to do both.”
Schlapp went on to mention that Kasich “just received a standing ovation” and that Rubio and Cruz each have a lot of supporters at the event.
Read the Trump campaign statement in its entirety:
The Donald J. Trump for President Campaign has just announced it will be in Wichita, Kansas for a major rally on Saturday, prior to the Caucus. Mr. Trump will also be speaking at the Kansas Caucus and then departing for Orlando, Florida to speak to a crowd of approximately 20,000 people or more. Because of this, he 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.