With the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the White House, this year’s edition of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) took on an entirely different mood from prior editions. On Friday morning, Feb. 24, thousands of conservative activists from across the United States greeted the President with enthusiasm. Only a year ago, Trump canceled his appearance at CPAC amid rumors of a pending walkout.
White House staffers Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Reince Priebus took key speaking slots at CPAC 2017, along with the president. Priebus and Bannon appeared together, attempting to mitigate rumors that they weren’t getting along. Vice President Mike Pence took a victory lap with a speech on Thursday evening, Feb. 23.
One of the loudest groups from past conferences, the libertarians, were surprisingly muted at this years event. In prior years, young supporters of former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and later Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), were ubiquitous. But with Trump’s victory, the theme of small government, popular with conservatives during the Obama administration, was largely replaced by Trumpism and nationalism.
The conference, founded in 1973 by the American Conservative Union, has grown substantially over the years. This year, CPAC returned to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor, Maryland.
*View Jeff Malet’s photos from CPAC 2017 by clicking on the photo icons below*