Mike Pence declined an invitation to CPAC, where Trump is the headline guest and the MAGA crowd has taken over

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Tom Porter
·2 min read
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CPAC Pence
Mike Pence at CPAC last year in National Harbor, Maryland. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Mike Pence will not be attending the conservative conference CPAC this year, an organizer said.

  • Former President Donald Trump is the highest-profile guest, alongside many of his allies.

  • CPAC was once a mainstay of establishment conservatism but is increasingly loyal to Trump.

  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Former Vice President Mike Pence has declined an invitation to the Conservative Political Action Conference, where former President Donald Trump is scheduled to make his first public speech since leaving office.

The conference is set to open Thursday in Orlando, Florida, and is one of the year's most important conservative political gatherings.

As one of the highest-profile conservatives in the US, Pence is usually a prominent speaker at the event.

Matt Schlapp, the organizer of CPAC, told USA Today that Pence declined an invite. The news was reported earlier by Politico.

Schlapp expressed regret at Pence's absence, saying "conservatives want to hear his take on the current threats posed by socialism and this radicalized Democrat party."

A source close to Pence told CNN the former vice president was looking to stay out of the public eye for six months.

The news that Pence would not be attending came after Trump was confirmed on Saturday as a speaker at the event.

Trump's relationship with Pence deteriorated fast after the November election, reaching a nadir around the Capitol riot on January 6.

Pence had refused to attempt to block the congressional certification of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election, ignoring prompts from Trump, because he did not have the constitutional authority to do so.

During Trump's impeachment trial, senators were presented with evidence that Trump knew of the danger Pence was in during the riot even as he continued to attack Pence on Twitter.

Supporters of the president chanted "Hang Mike Pence!" during the riot, furious that he did not try to block the process.

While Trump skipped Biden's inauguration, Pence attended it.

Intermediaries, including Ivanka Trump, have stepped in to try to repair relations between them.

Insider reported last week that CPAC appeared to be siding with Trump in the battle for the soul of the Republican Party that erupted after the riot.

While the Republican grassroots and some lawmakers have remained loyal to Trump, a smaller number of influential Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, are seeking to distance the party from the former president.

Read the original article on Business Insider