Trump will speak on Friday at the annual conservative showcase, which is run by the American Conservative Union. Vice President Mike Pence will give an address on Thursday. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon will participate in a panel discussion. Newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will also speak.
The other planned events have a Trump-like feel as well. Nigel Farage, the right-wing British politician who Trump joined on the presidential campaign trail in 2016, is scheduled to appear. Policy panels have titles like "If Heaven Has a Gate, A Wall, and Extreme Vetting, Why Can't America?" and "Black Lives Matter, So Why Does The Left Not Support Law Enforcement?"
A panel on trade includes Ed Schultz, the former MSNBC host now who now works at state-owned Russia Today. The final speaker Saturday evening is Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, a prominent Trump backer who declared it was "pitchfork and torches time in America" at a campaign rally in October.
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CPAC has always fed its audiences — 9,000-10,000 are expected at the gathering this week, according to a CPAC spokesman — plenty of red meat, but the Trumpian tone is distinct from previous years. After President Barack Obama's re-election, the 2013 conference was packed with speakers who supported immigration reform and emphasized outreach to minority voters, which led to tension with some hardline attendees.
At the time, the ACU's chairman was Al Cardenas, a longtime ally of Jeb Bush and early backer of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) for president. Now the ACU is run by Matt Schlapp, a former political director to President George W. Bush who takes pride in being one of the earliest Bush alums to embrace Trump.
"I took a lot of guff from my former Bush colleagues who didn't see what was happening in the country," Schlapp told NBC News in an interview. He praised Trump for marrying "conservative instincts" to a populist appeal.
For Trump, who has had an up-and-down relationship with the annual conservative showcase, it's a chance to take a victory lap. In 2015, his CPAC speech was focused on convincing people he was serious about running for president: "A lot of people think I'm doing this for fun," he said then. In 2016, he abruptly canceled a planned appearance, prompting CPAC's organizers to respond that "his choice sends a clear message to conservatives" on Twitter.