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Why Trump Needs a Great Speech at CPAC

Why Trump Needs a Great Speech at CPAC

Former President Trump is scheduled to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, February 27.  This may be among the most important presentations since Ronald Reagan addressed the first CPAC way back in 1974.

I have periodically attended CPAC for more than 40 years – occasionally as a speaker or presenter.  From its modest beginning, CPAC has grown to be the most important and respected gathering of conservative leaders and believers in the nation –that is until now.

If you have an addiction to the left-wing drivel that flows from the left-leaning east coast media, you might believe that CPAC is a gathering of violent white supremacists, conspiratorial theorists, and insurrectionists.  If you believe that, you are, unfortunately, an ill-informed victim of media propaganda.

The media’s mendacious attack on CPAC and Trump is one of the reasons why his speech is so important.  He can start the process of unifying both the conservative movement and the Republican Party.  But to do that, Trump is going to have to do something he has been loath to do.  He needs to pivot.  He needs to present a CREDIBLE defense of the Republican Party, the conservative movement … and himself.

If he does another version of his standard rally speech – dwelling on the election results and attacking his perceived enemies in the Democratic Party, the media and the Republican Party – he will be the proverbial bull in the china shop.  If he hints at forming a third party, his speech will rise above the level of ineffective to the height of disaster.

He needs to understand that the people of the nation have heard his angry speech … his accusations. 

The American mindset regarding the election is set in concrete.  Those who believe the election was stolen — and those who believe it was not — will never change their minds at this point. 

Everyone in American knows that Trump hates the mainstream media. And everyone in that room understands the vicious bias of the Fourth Estate.  Going over all that old ground will prevent Trump and Republicans from gaining ground for the 2022 midterm elections.

Trump needs to connect with independents, conservative Democrats and minorities.  That will not happen if his CPAC speech comes across as a re-run of his campaign stump speeches.

If I were advising Trump, I would tell him to create a powerful and persuasive argument with three basic elements.   He should speak of the importance of traditional conservative values.  Offer a comprehensive report of the accomplishments of his presidency – and they are many and notable.

Finally, Trump should motivate the conservatives – and others – to join in producing Republican victories in 2022 and 2024.  Rhetoric that promotes division within the GOP – or promotes a third-party split — only benefits the left-wingers and the Democratic Party.

Trump’s CPAC speech should be calm and convincing – appealing to the intellect rather than the spleen.

In terms of his own ambitions for 2024, Trump should remain conspicuously silent.  And that includes avoiding hints.  He should focus on 2022.  In many ways, what happens in 2022 will have a far greater impact on his potential for another presidential run than what he might say between now and then.

Ironically, no one would benefit more from a great CPAC speech than Trump, himself.  That has been true throughout his presidency – but he has rarely risen to the occasion.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Anonymous


  2. Henry Bouchat

    This is a wel written analysis of what Trump should do. I hope he follows your suggestions.

  3. Anonymous

    I hope Trump tells the RINOs and “never-trumpers” to pledge to be with him or get out of the GOP. Short of that he should establish a third conservative party with 100% Trump backers.

  4. pcman

    Trump should demand 100% backing of conservatives or Repubs or establish a new party that would have 100% Trump support.

  5. Tammi

    Mr Horis, your comments sound like typical “Chicago” political so called conservatism. Excuse me, but I believed you have missed the boat of what Trumpists have found in Donald Trump. The one candidate who finally understands what the American voter wants. For me to sum it all up would mean you did not hear the message.
    That is to your own detriment, not to the 74 million and more who did vote for Donald Trump.
    To say Donald Trump has rarely risen to the occasion sounds like another jab that a true supporter does not buy. He has risen to the occasion for America in every way. His accomplishments speak clearly to the goals he promised and completed for the American people.
    Interestingly, I hope the state of Florida finds you a different definition of conservatism than the state of Illinois, from which your comments hailed. The conservatives are buried in Illinois, and have been for a very long time. And Trump has dug up all that has been buried for so long and given it back to the people. So Donald Trump has most definitely risen to the occasion.

    • Tammi

      Mr. Horis,
      May I add on to my says you were a one-time candidate for the Mayor of Chicago? Well, obviously, the advice you are putting forth for Trump is ironic in that you yourself did not succeed in your mayoral run. And how are you qualified in giving him advice, when he already has won the approval of over 74 million American voters?