The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC; ) is an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States and beyond. CPAC is hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU). The first CPAC took place in 1974.


speaking at the 2008 CPAC President File:Donald_Trump_(38715831040).jpg.html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Donald Trump">File:Donald Trump (38715831040).jpg">President [[Donald Trump speaking at the 2018 CPAC The conference was founded in 1974 by the American Conservative Union and [[Young Americans for Freedom as a small gathering of dedicated conservatives. Ronald Reagan gave the inaugural keynote speech at CPAC in 1974. Like the conference's speakers today, the presidential hopeful used it to share his vision for the country—"A Shining City Upon A Hill," words borrowed from [[John Winthrop. The 2010 CPAC featured co-sponsorship for the first time from [[GOProud, a gay conservative group. GoProud is credited in the media for initiating talks with ACU to invite Donald Trump to speak at CPAC 2011. The 2011 CPAC speech Trump gave is credited for helping kick-start his political career within the Republican Party. Christopher R. Barron, co-founder of GOProud who would later not only endorse Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, but also launch LGBT for Trump, said he "would love to see Mr. Trump run for president". In 2014, CPAC extended an invitation to American Atheists, which was immediately withdrawn on the same day due to controversial statements by AA's president David Silverman, who declared his group was going to "enlighten conservatives" and that "the Christian right should be threatened by us". The 2015 CPAC featured Jamila Bey who became the first atheist activist to address CPAC's annual meeting. The 2016 CPAC featured co-sponsorship for the first time from the Log Cabin Republicans. Richard Spencer, a figurehead of the alt-right and a white supremacist, entered the lobby of the Gaylord National Hotel on February 23, 2017 in an attempt to access CPAC. Organizers of the conference ejected him from the hotel as soon as his presence was discovered, citing his "repugnant iews which... have absolutely nothing to do with conservatism or what we do here" as cause for rejecting his admission to CPAC. ACU's Executive Director Dan Schneider castigated Spencer and the alt-right in a main-stage speech, calling them "garden-variety, left-wing fascists," and saying that the alt-right "despises everything onservativesbelieve in". Media members across the political spectrum, led by progressive journalists and opinion columnists, salvoed the intrusion as yet another attempt by hateful groups, like the alt-right, to conceal their bigotry within a legitimate philosophy. Opinion columns in ''The New York Times'', and articles in ''Mother Jones'' and ''Rolling Stone'' voiced concern about the 2017 interview of ex-Trump Adviser Steve Bannon and ex-Trump Chief of Staff Reince Priebus with ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp, advocating for the American Right to reject the tenets of the alt-right (e.g. homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, racism, etc.).

Milo Yiannopoulos invitation

In December 2016, CPAC extended an invitation to conservative blogger Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at the event, despite his history of controversial views on feminism, racial minorities, and transgender issues. The invitation was canceled when the ''Reagan Battalion'' re-posted a video of 2016 and 2015 YouTube videos in which Yiannopoulos is heard making comments defending sexual relationships between adult men and 13-year-old boys, citing his own sexual experiences at that age with a Catholic priest.

Sacha Baron Cohen interruption

In 2020, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen attended CPAC dressed as a Klansman and later as President Trump while filming his movie ''Borat Subsequent Moviefilm''. After interrupting the event, he was escorted from the premises.

COVID-19 pandemic

In 2020, CPAC hosted its main event during the COVID-19 pandemic despite the public health risks. On Saturday, March 7, 2020, ACU confirmed that an attendee at the 2020 CPAC later tested positive for COVID-19. Senator Ted Cruz, Representatives Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Doug Collins, and Mark Meadows had direct contact with the unnamed carrier, and announced their self-quarantine. In 2021, CPAC hosted its main event during the COVID-19 pandemic despite the public health risks. The previous customary venue for CPAC, (Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center) in National Harbor, Maryland was subject to public health restrictions in Maryland, issued by Republican Governor Larry Hogan, which restricted gathering sizes to a maximum of 10, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, in 2021, the CPAC conference was relocated to Orlando, Florida, as Florida removed all prior pandemic-related limits on gathering sizes. The event was still subject to Orlando mandatory mask-wearing rules. Notwithstanding those restrictions, numerous attendees chose to not wear masks during the event, despite frequent announcements by the event's organizers and hotel staff, requesting attendees to comply with the local mask-wearing mandate. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis characterized the state's resistance to such safety mandates as comporting with the state's status as, "an oasis of freedom."

Golden Trump statue

In 2021, a golden statue of Donald Trump, titled "Trump and His Magic Wand", was installed by an artist named Tommy Zegan. It was ridiculed online and compared to the golden calf of the Old Testament. Terms such as "golden calf" and "Moses" trended on Twitter, and it was called a "perfect metaphor for the state of the GOP" by Zach Beauchamp, a senior correspondent at ''Vox''. It drew further comment when it was revealed to have been made in Mexico. Controversy over the statues' origins began when Tommy Zegan first claimed the statues were made in Mexico and his business partner Jose Mauricio Mendoza contradicted that claim, stating that all the statues molding were done in China, but proceeded to state that the design, fabrication and the spray-on chrome plating (patent # US7156919B2) were done in the US by Spectra Chrome in Clearwater, Florida.

Annual straw poll

The annual CPAC straw poll vote traditionally serves as a barometer for the feelings of the conservative movement. During the conference, attendees are encouraged to fill out a survey that asks questions on a variety of issues. The questions regarding the most popular possible presidential candidates are the most widely reported. One component of CPAC is evaluating conservative candidates for president, and the straw poll serves generally to quantify conservative opinion. Overall, U.S.Senator from Utah and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney holds the record of winning more CPAC straw polls than any other individual, with four. Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp and Rand Paul follow with three consecutive wins each, followed by Ron Paul with two wins. Of these five, the Pauls are the only two to win more than one straw poll, yet never appear on a Republican presidential ticket in any election (although Ron Paul did receive one Electoral College vote in 2016). Despite his former popularity, Romney was not invited from CPAC in 2020 because of his vote to hear additional witnesses in the first impeachment trial of Donald Trump and was also not invited to the 2021 CPAC after having voted to convict Trump on one count in his second impeachment trial. CPAC's chairman had said he could not ensure Romney's "physical safety" at the 2020 CPAC conference.

Foreign CPACs


Australia's first CPAC was held in August 2019, with guest speakers including former prime minister Tony Abbott, Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage, former Breitbart editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam and NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham. Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker and Craig Kelly MP were at the event. There have been calls for Kassam to be banned from coming into the country before the event. The 2020 conference started on November 4. Canadian alt-right YouTuber Lauren Southern was initially scheduled to appear, but her invitation was rescinded by the organizers.


The first CPAC in Brazil took place between 11–12 October 2019, in the city of São Paulo, attended by leading conservative names from U.S. like ACU chairman Matt Schlapp and his wife Mercedes Schlapp, Utah senator Mike Lee, Fox News especialist Walid Phares, and Brazilian names like Federal deputy and the President Jair Bolsonaro's son Eduardo Bolsonaro, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Araújo, and the Prince Imperial of Brazil Bertrand Maria José de Orléans e Bragança and others. The ACU Foundation has announced that the event will take place annually in Brazil from 2019.


The first international CPAC was hosted in Tokyo on December 16–17, 2017 by the Japanese Conservative Union (JCU) in conjunction with the American Conservative Union (ACU). JCU and ACU have continued to co-host J-CPACs every year since. Participants have included notable lawmakers and conservatives from the U.S., Japan, and around the world. They include ACU chairman Matt Schlapp and executive director Dan Schneider, White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, U.S. Representatives Bruce Westerman, and Paul Gosar, Fmr. METI Minister Akira Amari, Fmr. Defense Minister Gen Nakatani, Fmr. Defense Minister Tomomi Inada, Fmr. Taiwanese Finance Minister and WTO ambassador Ching-Chang Wen, journalist Sara Carter, then-SEC commissioner Michael Piwowar, Asia expert and commentator Gordon Chang, to name just a few. Hong Kong localist activist Andy Chan Ho-tin attended Japanese CPAC 2019 by video after he was arrested in Hong Kong on his way to Tokyo to make a live appearance.

See also



External links

Home page for the American Conservative Union, the organization that runs CPAC
{{Conservatism US footer Category:1973 establishments in the United States Category:American awards Category:Annual events in the United States Category:Articles containing video clips Category:Conservative political advocacy groups in the United States Category:Political career of Donald Trump Category:Political conferences Category:Political conventions in the United States Category:Right-wing politics in the United States Category:United States presidential straw polls Category:Conservatism in the United States