- CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp tweeted Friday that Sen. Mitt Romney is “formally NOT invited to” the organization’s 2020 gathering.
- This blowback follows Romney’s decision to vote with the Democratic caucus in seeking witnesses in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
- CPAC is the largest annual conservative gathering in the United States. Romney had a prominent speaking slot when he ran for president in 2012.
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Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference, lashed out at Sen. Mitt Romney in a tweet Friday, saying that he will not be welcome at the 2020 gathering.
Schlapp’s move followed the senator’s decision to break ranks and vote with 47 Democratic senators who sought witnesses and additional documents during President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial Friday.
—Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) January 31, 2020
Fifty-one senators needed to vote in favor of the motion to call more witnesses, meaning four senators from the Republican caucus needed to vote with their colleagues from across the aisle.
The motion failed because Romney and Susan Collins of Maine were the only two senators who voted with the Democratic senators.
Mike Lee, the other Republican senator from Utah, was among those who voted against calling more witnesses.
However, he defended Romney on Twitter, commending him for demonstrating “thoughtfulness, integrity, and guts.”
—Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) January 31, 2020
Since its inception in 1974, CPAC — scheduled this year from February 26 to February 29 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Fort Washington, Maryland — has been the largest gathering of conservatives every year.
Notable right-wing speakers and Republican leaders, who in the past have included Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, California Rep. Devin Nunes, British politician Nigel Farage, and online influencers Diamond and Silk, typically draw thousands of attendees.
Trump, a familiar face at the conference, is slated to be the keynote speaker this year.
Romney, too, has spoken at CPAC several times in the past. It’s also where he deemed himself a “severely conservative” governor of Massachusetts, while trying to appeal to the Republican base during his 2012 presidential run against former President Barack Obama
On Sunday, CBS’s “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan asked Ronna Romney McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee and Romney’s niece, about Schlapp’s decision to banish her uncle.
“That’s the grassroots part of our party and they’re upset,” McDaniel said. “They are upset when people aren’t supporting the president and supporting our party and they think if you’re not supporting him, you’re helping a Democrat get elected.”
Romney did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.