Republican presidential candidates billionaire Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will speak at the American Conservative Union (ACU) Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in early 2016, Breitbart News has learned exclusively.
Trump, Cruz, and Fiorina will each speak at the conference—which is the pre-eminent annual gathering of conservatives and happens just outside Washington, D.C., at National Harbor—in early March. The conference takes place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland—just outside Washington, D.C.—from March 2 to March 5.
ACU chairman Matt Schlapp said in a release provided to Breitbart News that he is thrilled Trump, Cruz, and Fiorina are the first major speakers confirmed and announced by ACU.
“This is the year of the conservative grassroots activist,” Schlapp said. “We need to restore and protect our Constitutional freedoms and put a stop to Obama’s liberal run-away train. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina are each battling to represent conservatives in the nomination contest, and CPAC 2016 will allow activists to hear their vision.”
The theme of CPAC in 2016—which comes right after the so-called SEC Primary of several southern states on March 1—is from President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 CPAC address: “Our Time Is Now.”
“Our time is now. Our moment has arrived,” President Reagan told the conservative gathering in 1981. “We stand together shoulder to shoulder in the thickest of the fight.”
The ACU release provided to Breitbart News continues by further explaining why this year’s theme is based on Reagan’s 1981 speech. The release reads:
Reagan’s sentiment reflects the urgency for grassroots activists to come together once again to work toward enacting conservative, limited-government solutions to today’s problems, all of which have been aggravated by Obama’s policies. This year’s theme builds upon last CPAC’s theme, ‘Conservative Action Starts Here,’ by urging the people we trained and activated at CPAC to help restore the ideas and ideals of our nation’s founding.
Last year’s CPAC earlier in 2015 was such a smashing success, too, that organizers are expecting this year’s coming event to have even more of a role in selecting the eventual GOP nominee to face off against the eventual Democratic nominee in one of the most critical presidential elections of many conservatives’ lifetimes.
Ian Walters, communications director for ACU and for CPAC, confirmed to Breitbart News that more 11,000 people attended CPAC in 2015—which was a record-breaking crowd size. Potentially even more people are expected to gather in National Harbor in 2016 as the presidential race hits its next stage after the SEC Primary.