Celebrity mogul Donald Trump will speak at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, a major stomping ground for Republican activists and presidential hopefuls.
“I look forward to welcoming him back to the CPAC stage next week,” said American Conservative Union President Al Cardenas. “Mr. Trump’s previous CPAC appearance was hugely popular among our attendees and we expect it will be even more popular this year.”
Trump spoke at CPAC in 2011, when he was considering a presidential bid. The room was packed for his appearance, which got a decidedly mixed reception; there were boos before, during and after his speech. His dismissal of Ron Paul’s candidacy was particularly unpopular.
A few months later, Trump announced that he wasn’t a candidate, a decision he now says he regrets.
“I made a mistake in not running, because I think I would have won,” the “Apprentice” star recently told the Associated Press.
After cutting short his own bid, Trump continued to involve himself in the presidential race. He endorsed Mitt Romney in a high-profile Las Vegas news conference. In October, he offered to donate $5 million to charity if President Obama released his college and passport records.
Several likely 2016 candidates are speaking at the conference, including Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, both popular state leaders who have angered some conservatives, were not invited.