CPAC is loved far and wide by Republican politicians, conspiracy theorists, and MAGAs. In the past, the knockout lineup of attendees has included the Proud Boys among other extremist groups. This year, the convention welcomed right-wingers such as Candace Owens, Governor Ron DeSantis, Nigel Farage, disgraced Papa John's Founder John Schnatter, and more.
None, however, dethroned former President Donald Trump as the most anticipated speaker. In fact, Trump's appearance only solidified the belief that he remains the most influential figure among conservatives. And as shown by the results of the informal presidential straw poll—he seemingly has the support to run for the big office in 2024 if he chooses to do so.
Behind him on the polls was Republican leader DeSantis who came in second in the straw poll, showing his growing star power in Florida and the rest of the country.
Below, scroll for five of the most outrageous moments from CPAC.
During his speech, Trump said of running in 2024: “We did it twice, and we’ll do it again,” seemingly repeating the false claim that he won the 2020 election. At another point, he described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “smart.”
“Of course he’s smart. But the real problem is our leaders are dumb. Dumb. So dumb," he said.
Mike Lindell had an epic meltdown
MyPillow guy aka Mike Lindell made an appearance at CPAC and had a screaming match with a reporter.
"Why don't you ask about Dominion?! Why don't you guys go after them?" Lindell yelled. "They're the biggest crime family: Dominion, Smartmatic, ES&S, Diebold. They used China — attacked our country, your country you say you're a part of and you don't give a dang about it."
When Lindell accused the VICE journalist of "attacking" him, the journalist responded, "I haven't attacked you. I've asked you questions."
At another point in the conference, Lindell had another confrontation with a journalist. CBS News reporter Robert Costa spoke to Lindell and asked him about a memo that he was seen carrying on January 15, 2021, that had the words “martial law.”
“Who gave me the papers? That’s none of your business. A bunch of lawyers did,” he said in response to the reporter's question. “I never read them.”
“You guys are the worst journalists,” Lindell said, adding: “Robert Costa is a traitor to the United States of America." He then led a “traitor” chant at the conference.
Candace Owens' 'bear sex' rant
Owens always seems to take the cake for outrageous comments, but this one was just plain mind-boggling. During her speech, she explained how male bears sometimes kill and then eat their own cubs in order to have sex with female bears.
"In the wild, far from the flowery depictions that you see from PETA, where all the animals are loving each other and hugging all the time and the only thing that happens bad in the wild happened because of awful human beings in the wild, male bears actually kill their cubs," she said per Gawker.
Owens credited this explainer as the origin story for the "Mama Bear" ideal, which Republicans have used in merch.
"But there’s something else that I’m getting at and there's something amazing about this story that I learned. It’s that when the male bear does attack, the mama bear fights back with everything in her to protect her offspring. Most times that is a fight to the death. That is actually where the true concept of “mama bear” — which we all use colloquially today — it comes from that concept of them fighting to the death for their cubs. As a result, those of you who live near wildlife will know this, when you see a bear cub anywhere, no matter how cute and cuddly it looks, you do not go near it, right? Because you know somewhere nearby mother bear is lurking and she will take no prisoners."
So where is she going with this? Well, it boils down to what she said next: " I’ve been left wondering what our human world would look like if we all took inspiration from such a notion."
Contextualizing the wild animals to Americans, Owens shared that this can look like mothers protecting their children fiercely against school boards, pharmaceutical companies, and politicians who "violate our children mentally and even physically; to, without our express consent, masking them, injecting them, sexualizing them through the education system."
Who would've thought we'd ever see the Covid-19 vaccine compared to horny, murderous, male bears?
Ukraine takes the backburner to other events, apparently
Over the last week, tensions have been high as Russia proclaimed war on Ukraine. The conflict had been inching near violence for some time, and the invasion as ordered by President Vladimir Putin has already rendered the deaths of many innocent lives. During the conference, many leaders touched on topics such as immigration to critical race theory and even took the expected swipe at President Joe Biden. While turmoil continues to erupt in Europe, many failed to address the pressing issue of Ukraine and Russia.
"The US southern border matters a lot more than the Ukrainian border," said Charlie Kirk, the executive director of Turning Point USA.
Republican leaders such as Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz, and Florida Senator Rick Scott, had no mention of Ukraine in their speeches.
I guess there's no time to focus on worldwide issues when you're selfishly focused on only making America great, right?
Awake Not Woke
Perhaps the most absurd moment of them all was the new proclamation that Republicans have a new slogan that's even worse than "Make America Great."
Introducing: "Awake Not Woke." Seriously.
CPAC organizer Matt Schlapp said the theme of the event was "'awake not woke" which "captured the mood of people angry at being told what to do."
Oh, and there's even merch available for you to purchase if your heart feels compelled to echo these chants.
Trump serves McDonald’s at his VIP party
The former president's legacy lives on as Trump once again showcases his love for McDonald's.
Attendees at former president Donald Trump’s VIP party at CPAC were treated to a gourmet meal of McDonald's cheeseburgers and Diet Cokes.
While at the event, a group of anti-Trump Republicans mounted a billboard campaign around the city calling attention to the disgraced state of the party.
The Republican Accountability Project, which was started during the Trump presidency, launched ads featuring everyday “former Republicans” expressing their disapproval of Trump, per The Independent.
“I was a lifelong Republican,” says Frank, from Georgia. “But now – I’m out.” Steve of Wisconsin has a similar story: “I left the GOP. It needs to be about more than just Trump.”
President Joe Biden is mocked for being at a funeral
Two Republican members of the House Foreign Relations Committee mocked President Joe Biden’s relationship with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. They then accused Biden of having “abandoned the capital” by conducting business from his Delaware home while traveling there for a family funeral.
Biden departed the White House on Friday en route to Wilmington, Delaware, where White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said he was scheduled to attend “the memorial service of a family member”.
Trump says rising sea levels just ‘give you slightly more seafront property’
As can only be expected, former President Donald Trump brushed off concerns about climate change. Instead of regarding it as a grueling environmental issue, he noted that rising sea levels caused by rising temperatures could lead to more seafront property.
Because that's the natural takeaway.
Don Jr. says ‘crack’s not really my thing’
For some reason, Donald Trump Jr. felt the need to explain that crack isn't really “thing.” He then went on to accuse the press of covering for the Biden administration’s alleged “failures."
“Crack’s not really my thing, but it would be fine if I was on that [Democratic] side,” he said.
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