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Trump's hold on Republican Party on display at CPAC

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Donald Trump's hold on the Republican Party will be on full display this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference - or CPAC - in Orlando, Florida.

The twice-impeached one-term former president, who is speaking Sunday, is expected to chart a future for a party split on the way forward after his chaotic four years in office.

On Friday prominent congressional conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz defended Trump’s central place in the party, glossing over the role he played in the deadly riots at the Capitol on January 6th.

SEN. TED CRUZ: "And they look at Donald J. Trump and they look at the millions and millions of people inspired, who went to battle fighting alongside President Trump, and they're terrified! And they want him to go away. Let me tell you this right now: Donald J. Trump ain't going anywhere."

In his speech Sunday, Trump is expected to dangle the possibility of running for president again in 2024.

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, told reporters in the Capitol that he expected the former president to talk about his policy achievements, but added that it "would be a big mistake" if he focused on the past election.

Trump's tumultuous final weeks in office saw his supporters launch the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Biden's election victory, a win that Trump falsely claimed was tainted by widespread fraud.

That same false narrative continued to echo at the conference Friday.

DEROY MURDOCK: "So don't tell me that vote fraud is some right-wing hallucination. The November 2020 election was a nightmare."

Now tension is building within the GOP on whether or not Trump should play a role in the future of the party.

On Wednesday, that clash was on full display between Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Representative Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House who voted to impeach Trump last month.

A reporter asked if Trump should speak at CPAC.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY: "Yes, he should,"

REP. LIZ CHENEY: “That's up to CPAC. I've been clear in my views on President Trump and the extent to which fell on January 6th, I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."

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