Republicans ostracized from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend in Orlando, Florida, are staging their own counterprogramming in Washington, D.C.
The Republicans opposed to former President Donald Trump are gathering for the Principles First summit Saturday and Sunday, and the speakers list includes anti-Trump Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo.; and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
Those two GOP members skirted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., boycott and joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's partisan Jan. 6 Select Committee.
Cheney will only be addressing the summit virtually in a prerecorded video and will be in Wyoming this weekend, a Cheney spokesman told Newsmax on Monday night.
"Principles First is excited to announce a two-day grassroots summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 26-27, 2022 focused on discussing and advancing a more principled politics in the United States," according to the website. "We look forward to bringing together conservative and independent speakers, thought leaders, and grassroots activists for two days of panels, speeches, networking, and substantive discussion about the meaning of conservatism today and the future of our movement."
The speakers list includes retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who testified against Trump during the House inquiry during the Democrats' first failed impeachment attempt.
Other speakers include key figures from the Georgia elections, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and never-Trumper Joe Walsh and Bill Kristol. Also, on the list is Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who testified before the select committee, saying Jan. 6 protesters were racist.
"We want to come together in a visual show of support for people who have taken stands for ideas when it hasn't been comfortable," Republican lawyer Heath Mayo told CBS News, saying the summit is "certainly be counterprogramming of CPAC."
"You don't see those folks yet, in rooms that are energized. But I think the energy is there. We'll see how many folks show up."
Mayo added there is a "lane" for never-Trumpers and the summit is designed to present potential candidates for the 2024 GOP presidential primary, including Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan.
"The party is completely stuck in a rut talking about if the last election is legitimate and if Liz Cheney, Hogan, or someone else is compelling and wants to run. I think a lot of people would listen," Mayo told CBS News.
Eric Mack ✉
Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.
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