Former Vice President Mike Pence will not be joining former President Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 28.

According to CNN, CPAC organizers were still hopeful that Pence could be persuaded to show up at the conference. The Hill said Trump's closing remarks at CPAC would be the former president's first speech since the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

CNN noted that relations between the two Republicans had been tense since the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. Pence had dutifully played his part in the certification of Biden's victory, the network recalled.

Pence had not appeared at Trump's departure from the White House and, unlike Trump, Pence had attended Biden's inauguration, CNN said. The news network, however, quoted Marc Short, Pence's former chief of staff, as saying Trump and Pence had gone their separate ways "amicably."

Pence Has Plans

The Hill said Pence wanted to stay out of the limelight for the next six months. According to The Hill, Pence’s plans include:

  • Launching a podcast.
  • Writing a monthly opinion column.
  • Serving as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation.
  • Speaking at colleges as the Ronald Reagan Presidential Scholar of the Young America’s Foundation.

Trump and The Future of the GOP

An unnamed source was quoted by CNN as saying Trump's speech at CPAC would take up Biden's "disastrous amnesty and border policies" as well as the future of conservatism and the GOP.

The Hill recalled that there was an ongoing conflict within the GOP over Trump's future role in the party. Trump had promised to support challengers to those Republican Congressmen and Senators who had been critical of his presidency, The Hill said. The news site quoted a statement from Trump in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had been blamed for the GOP's recent loss of the Senate.

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The statement had called McConnell a "dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack," The Hill noted.

CNN recalled that soon after the January 6 assault on the Capitol Trump had been visited by the leader of the GOP in the House of Representatives, Congressman Kevin McCarthy. At the end of the meeting, the two said they would work together to regain control of the House in 2022, the network said.

More recently, GOP Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana paid a private visit to Trump on February 16 and GOP Senator Mike Lee of Florida was scheduled to hold a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago on February 27, CNN said.

CPAC and the Coronavirus

The Hill said that CPAC had usually been held in Maryland but this year it had been moved to Orlando, Florida in order to avoid Maryland's tough restrictions related to the Coronavirus.