Former President Donald Trump is set to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend in one of his first public appearances since the inauguration of President Joe Biden, who defeated him in the 2020 election.
The address comes just weeks after Trump was acquitted by the U.S. Senate in his second impeachment trial, despite the most bipartisan vote to convict of any presidential impeachment trial in history.
As for the House impeachment vote that spurred the trial, 10 Republicans voted to charge Trump with inciting an insurrection after his lies about the 2020 election prompted a mob of pro-Trump extremists to storm the United States Capitol. Like the subsequent Senate trial, it was the most bipartisan presidential impeachment vote in American history.
The most notable vote to impeach came from third-ranking House Republican Liz Cheney (R-WY), who announced her decision in a blistering statement, saying there had "never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."
In a weekly press briefing from Republican leadership on Wednesday, one reporter asked both Cheney and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) about Trump's upcoming speech at CPAC.
Q: Do you believe former President Trump should speaking at CPAC? @GOPLeader: "Yes he should." @RepLizCheney: "Th… https://t.co/BmcVmH1TSt— CSPAN (@CSPAN)1614182262.0
McCarthy—who admitted that Trump was responsible for inciting the insurrection before backtracking—said that Trump should be speaking at CPAC.
Seconds later, Cheney expressed her opposition:
"I've been clear on my views about President Trump and the extent to which following January 6th, I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."
McCarthy playfully acknowledged the disagreement, but Twitter sided with Cheney.
Liz Cheney demonstrating how spines work. https://t.co/iEe6xhJOD6— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@BrooklynDad_Defiant!)1614185389.0
Never has a Congressional leader been instantly rebuked by a lower ranking member at his own press conference. Unti… https://t.co/Un52MISYLR— Lawrence O'Donnell (@Lawrence O'Donnell)1614189280.0
Not a fan of Liz Cheney but wow she nails it and i love how uncomfortable it makes Kevin McCarthy https://t.co/I5afsvIfPK— Henry(Biden/Harris will Unite America) Djoutsa (@Henry(Biden/Harris will Unite America) Djoutsa)1614184626.0
Like a boss, @Liz_Cheney. Like @RepKinzinger you are #CountryFirst. Thank you, ma’am. https://t.co/qVO0qAKo10— Louise Mensch, M.A. (@Louise Mensch, M.A.)1614191452.0
This is why we're supporting @RepLizCheney, and all the other Republicans of conscience who voted to impeach and co… https://t.co/7o0ro0W0gZ— The Republican Accountability Project (@The Republican Accountability Project)1614182682.0
This is amazing https://t.co/R4NKkZzMhx— Eric Heggie (@Eric Heggie)1614189327.0
Some saw the moment as an embodiment of a perceived identity crisis for the GOP in the post-Trump era.
This is a perfect encapsulation of the very, very deep divisions in the GOP at the moment. https://t.co/dLTRfF4DcQ— Jake Sherman (@Jake Sherman)1614184795.0
And at the end, @RepLizCheney seems to walk off in the opposite direction from @GOPLeader and his retinue. Two roa… https://t.co/RadKhQzOjd— Bill Kristol (@Bill Kristol)1614192055.0
The state of the House GOP pretty well captured in one video clip. https://t.co/rHGK1FNxPZ— Garrett Haake (@Garrett Haake)1614182494.0
It should be emphasized, however, that Cheney is one of only a few Republican lawmakers to publicly oppose Trump. The vast majority of the GOP continues to embrace the former President, as the party will reiterate at CPAC this weekend.