During my obligatory annual visit to the Conservative Political Action Conference, I managed to avoid the crowds of thousands of pretentious and privileged college kids by bolting directly to the elevators and heading to a working suite to visit with old friends.
Over the years, I’ve learned that CPAC was one of two things for most people: an annual reunion of right-of-center politicos and consultants or an alcohol-infused carnival for college aged kids who are eager to become the next talking head on Fox News. The later have become more and more overwhelming over the years.
After safely making it to the suite without having to endure a single political discussion (a first!), the news of Donald Trump’s snub had echoed to the 9th floor of the Gaylord, the hotel where the American Conservative Union has hosted CPAC for the last several years.
Friday morning, Donald Trump announced he would be campaigning in New Orleans and Wichita rather than attend the gathering of 10,000 on Saturday morning.
The move was a smart one as he drew a crowd of 25,000 supporters rather than play to a crowd of coalition conservatives who largely support establishment candidates.
But that wasn’t the real reason why the billionaire frontrunner made the call to skip out on the year’s premier event for conservative insiders and thousands of their ideological fanboys.
On Thursday evening, a boatload of Cruz Kids attending the event decided they were going to organize a walkout during Trump’s speech.
The plan for the anti-Trump youngsters was to get to the room early, get good seats that the camera’s could not miss, then pull the old “about face” and walk out while chanting for their candidate of the hour.
The rumor that 1,000 of the CPAC kids were planning to crash Donald’s speech hit Trump’s trusted few who were there in advance of the event and once they caught wind of the organized walkout, the candidate decided to pull the plug.
Rather than ruffle feathers over the no-show like Marco Rubio did with his non-commitment (that lead to an uncomfortable back and forth with the American Conservative Union), Trump managed to exit as gracefully as possible.
The move was a “win” for the Cruz Camp in that they had the opportunity to own the weekend at the National Harbor, but in the end, it was a blip in the news and meaningless to Trump’s supporters.
As for the Cruz Kids, they appeared to be disappointed by their lost opportunity to get in front of the camera, too fledgling in their political careers to realize they had actually done Donald Trump a favor by giving him an excuse to land his plane in the states that matter rather than giving opportunity to his opposition.