Former Vice President Mike Pence seemed to have fallen from grace in the eyes of conservatives toward the end of former President Donald Trump’s first and only term in the White House, with some of Trump’s most radical supporters even calling Pence a “traitor” and demanding his hanging during the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill, as The Guardian reported.
Now, according to The Hill, Pence has made the shocking decision to turn down an invitation to speak at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — an important conservative meet-up that he has reportedly attended and spoken at over a dozen times.
Pence skipping CPAC
CPAC will kick off in Florida this Thursday, and organizers have already boasted about the number of high-profile conservatives who will make appearances, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and former President Trump himself.
Pence — who is typically a CPAC staple, given that he embodies everything conservatism stands for — reportedly decided to pass this time around, as he wants to stay out of the news headlines for at least six months following his departure from the White House, an unnamed source said, according to The Hill.
Another anonymous source reportedly alleged that CPAC organizers are still attempting to convince Pence to change his mind and make an appearance or, at the very least, be in attendance there.
Pence’s upcoming busy schedule could have also played a role in his decision not to attend, however, as he recently announced a new podcast venture, on top of joining the Heritage Foundation as a distinguished visiting fellow. He’s also scheduled for public speaking events in yet another new role as the Ronald Reagan Presidential Scholar at the conservative Young America’s Foundation.
This year’s CPAC comes at a time when Trump-centric Republicans are currently at “war” with the establishment wing of the party, which will likely be a hot topic of discussion at the conference and could be another reason why Pence is choosing to distance himself from the event, though that’s nothing more than speculation.
“It’s a mistake”
In any case, CPAC Executive Director Dan Schneider was clearly disappointed in Pence’s snub, calling the former vice president’s decision not to attend or speak at the conference a “mistake” during a Sunday appearance on MSNBC, according to Mediaite.
Asked how and when invitations for CPAC were sent out, Schneider explained that invitations were sent to both Trump and Pence while they were still in the White House.
“We are pleased the president will be joining us, and we’re disappointed the vice president’s not coming. We think it’s a mistake for him not to come,” Schneider admitted, describing Pence as a “real champion for conservatism.”
The director went on to reveal that Pence had logged over a dozen years of speaking at the popular conservative conference and told MSNBC that the former VP would be “treated very warmly” and with “great respect” should he choose to change his mind and show up this year.
Only time will tell if Pence decides to attend, but as Mediaite pointed out, current and past security concerns might simply pose too much of a risk for him at this time.