Former CPAC Chair Minces No Words Slamming What The Event, GOP Have Now Become

Author Mickey Edwards

This year’s Conservative Political Action Conference attendees “are living in an alternate reality in which facts don’t matter,” said former GOP Rep. Mickey Edwards.

A former chair of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday slammed what the event has now become, suggesting former President Ronald Reagan would not get elected by those in attendance at this year’s gathering. 

Mickey Edwards — who led the American Conservative Union, which organizes the event, for five years until 1983 — ripped Republicans attending this year’s CPAC in Orlando for their devotion to former President Donald Trump.

In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Edwards likened the GOP to a cult whose members are living in an alternate reality.

Edwards served as a GOP representative for Oklahoma for 16 years until 1993 but quit the GOP in January following the deadly U.S. Capitol riot. The violence was perpetrated by a violent mob of Trump supporters who’d been whipped up by the then-president’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

“The Republican party really no longer stands for any kind of principles, conservative or otherwise,” Edwards told Burnett on Friday.

“The party seems now to be completely following the lead of one man wherever he goes, which is the definition of a cult,” he continued “Now all that matters is ‘Trump is for this, we’re for this.’ And that includes denying truth, denying fact, denying reality. It’s such a disconnect from what’s really happened in the world.”

Edwards said Republicans speaking at this year’s CPAC “are living in an alternate reality in which facts don’t matter, the Constitution doesn’t matter.”

He also minced no words when commenting on current ACU chair Matt Schlapp, who has bought into Trump’s mass voter fraud lie.

“He doesn’t have the job that I used to have because when I was head of CPAC, it was a group that was based on conservative principles,” said Edwards. “We were strong supporters of the Constitution. We believed in free elections. We believed in democracy. These people don’t believe in any of those things.”

“You know, they’re no different than the people who flock to other totalitarian leaders in other countries,” he added. “They’re no different than they are in Hungary, they’re no different than they used to be Germany. Whatever their great leader says, they do, and there’s no underpinning of fact, there’s no underpinning or concern about the norms of free democracy.”

Edwards concluded that the CPAC of the Trump era is “not at all the same organization I led.” “Ronald Reagan could not get elected to anything by the people who were at that CPAC conference this year.”

Watch the full interview here:

McConnell says he would 'absolutely' support Trump as 2024 nominee

Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday that he would "absolutely" support former President Donald Trump if he won the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

"Well, there's a lot to happen between now and '24," McConnell said in an interview with Fox News. "I've got at least four members that I think are planning to run for president, plus some governors and others. There's no incumbent, a wide-open race, and should be fun for you all to cover."

Asked whether he would support Trump, who has hinted at a second run, if he became the Republican nominee, McConnell said, "Absolutely." Republican Sens. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, as well as Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., have also been mentioned as potential candidates.

Only weeks ago, McConnell voted to acquit Trump at his impeachment trial while criticizing his "disgraceful dereliction of duty" on Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol. The Senate voted 57-43 to convict him but fell short of the two-thirds majority needed.

"There's no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it," McConnell said at the time. "The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president."

McConnell said he voted not guilty on the single charge of incitement of insurrection solely because Trump was no longer in office — not because he believed Trump hadn't incited the crowd that stormed the Capitol, which resulted in five deaths.

Trump, in turn, slammed McConnell in a statement after the impeachment vote as a "political hack" who "doesn't have what it takes" to lead the party.

"The Republican Party can never again be respected or strong with political 'leaders' like Sen. Mitch McConnell at its helm," Trump said in a 600-word statement, in which he also blamed McConnell for Republicans' losing two key Senate seats in a special election in Georgia.



Freedom Caucus members urge Cheney to step down from GOP leadership role after latest anti-Trump comment

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming. Her vote could offer cover to more conservatives supporting impeachment.

Ahead of his CPAC speech, Cheney says Trump shouldn't be 'playing a role' in GOP's future

The chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus is urging Rep. Liz Cheney to step down from her position as the number three House Republican in leadership over her latest critical comments of former President Donald Trump.

"She should step down," Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona told reporters on Thursday.


And Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, another House Freedom Caucus member, said Cheney has "forfeited her right to be chair of the Republican Caucus."

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the House Republican Conference chair, joined from left by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., top Republican on the House Budget Committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters as Congress preps for its first votes on the Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the House Republican Conference chair, joined from left by Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., top Republican on the House Budget Committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks to reporters as Congress preps for its first votes on the Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The calls by Biggs and Roy for Cheney to relinquish her House GOP leadership role come a day after the Wyoming lawmaker and vocal Trump critic publicly took aim once again at the former president.

During a House Republican leadership briefing with reporters Wednesday, both Cheney and House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California were asked if Trump should have a prominent speaking role at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is better known by its acronym CPAC. The former president – who remains extremely popular and influential with Republican voters – is scheduled on Sunday to give the keynote address at CPAC, the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists.


"Yes, he should," McCarthy said in a brief response.

Cheney then said "that’s up to CPAC. I've been clear about my views of President Trump and the extent to which, following Jan. 6., I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."

After a moment of awkward silence, McCarthy concluded the press conference. "On that high note, thank you all very much," he said to laughter from reporters.


Cheney, the three-term statewide congresswoman and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has followed in the footsteps of her father in advocating for a hawkish and muscular U.S. role overseas, was a vocal critic of Trump's "America First" policies of limiting the use of American troops in international conflicts. And she was a veteran of numerous clashes with Trump and his allies during his four years in the White House


Cheney came under fire last month over her vote to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters. Cheney was the most senior of 10 Republicans who joined all 222 House Democrats to impeach Trump, with 197 GOP representatives voting against impeachment.

Earlier this month a group of Trump loyalists in the House pushed to strip Cheney of her leadership position and predicted that they had the support of more than half of the House Republican Conference heading into a major closed-door meeting.

But 145 members of the House Republican Conference ended up backing Cheney, with just 61 Trump loyalists voting to remove her from her leadership role during a secret ballot vote amid a tense four-hour meeting.

Biggs, a major Trump supporter, said Cheney’s Wednesday comments were "outrageous" but "consistent with at least four other statements she's made in the last few weeks." And he emphasized that he doesn't believe "she is able to carry out" her House GOP leadership responsibilities "any further."

"I also think she is absolutely devoid of any kind of political reading of what's going on in the party," he added. "If she any sense of shame, she would step down."

Roy called Cheney's latest comments "completely out of step with the Republican conference."

Roy, who said after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol that Trump "deserves universal condemnation for what was clearly impeachable conduct," highlighted that Cheney's comments are "in complete opposition" to where the majority of House Republicans stand.

While easily surviving the push to strip her of her leadership position in Congress, Cheney's facing trouble back home. The Wyoming Republican Party censured Cheney, and she’s facing multiple primary challenges to her reelection this year.



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