The song debuted just in time for Trump to make a splashy entrance to the CPAC conference on Saturday afternoon. Even before the former president’s arrival, the conservative conference attendees have made it clear that Trump is the focus—but attendance, reportedly, is sparse. “I think CPAC used to be a place where stars could break out. Now it’s much more the Trump show,” GOP strategist Alex Conant said. “I don’t think people go there to meet the next generation of leaders. They go to celebrate the last one.”
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz boasted his support for Trump while being diplomatic about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has not formally entered the race but is viewed as Trump’s top rival. Gaetz said, “[Trump] has a special magic, an energy, a coalition that excites people and welcomes people in.” Gaetz added that he thought “very highly” of DeSantis, but “selfishly, I want him to stay my governor for the full eight years that Floridians elected him for.” DeSantis, however, did not make an appearance at CPAC.
Former Vice President Mike Pence also will not be attending. “We had other priorities this week, but I wish them well,” Pence said on Thursday. “That’s an important gathering filled with great Americans, and I look forward to returning someday.”
Other prominent Republicans, including Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador—who formally entered the 2024 race last month—and Mike Pompeo, the former Secretary of State, gave speeches. Other attendees include Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Steve Bannon, Kari Lake, who refused to admit losing Arizona’s gubernatorial election, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, and former White House press secretary Sean Spicer.
Spicer expressed disappointment with how the event was set up. He said that while he understood that Trump is the central focus because he is the “frontrunner” and the “800-pound gorilla in the Republican Party,” CPAC “is not a Trump event.”