(PatriotWise.com) — Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy were both missing from the CPAC conference this year. The two high-ranking Republicans were notably absent at the event that closed with a speech from former President Donald Trump. Other key speakers included chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. It is not known why McConnell or McCarthy did not attend. Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida and firm favorite to take on Trump for the Republican Presidential nomination, was also absent, as was Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
Politico has reported that the conference was very much a MAGA affair, with Trump’s popularity on triumphant display. This could partly explain McConnell’s absence as he was booed at the convention two years ago when his name was mentioned by Donald Trump. The two men have had a difficult relationship for the past couple of years. McConnell publicly condemned the former President and blamed him for the riots that took place on Capitol Hill on January 6th, 2021. “There’s no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day,” McConnell told the Senate. He has also strongly contested Trump’s claims that he lost the 2020 election due to fraud.
The popular Floridian DeSantis may also have stayed away because of his difficult relationship with the former President. Trump has repeatedly referred to the Florida Governor as “Ron DeSanctimonious” and accused him of being a globalist. DeSantis has beaten Trump in several hypothetical polls throughout 2022 and is seen by many as the sole serious contender to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination. He regained the Governor’s seat in the Sunshine State in November 2022 with the largest margin for a Republican Governor in almost 150 years. He won by almost 20% beating Jeb Bush’s 12.8% in 2002. Celebrating the victory, state GOP Chair Joe Gruters said, “Florida is now officially the Republican Rock for America.”