Dallas (CNN)Former President Donald Trump, who is weighing when to announce his expected third run for the Republican presidential nomination, will address a gathering of conservative activists here this weekend.
On Saturday, Trump will give the final speech of the multiday CPAC Texas, an offshoot of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. The confab begins Thursday and is organized by the American Conservative Union.
Among the others slated to appear in Dallas are Republican elected officials, GOP candidates in the upcoming midterm elections and even Viktor Orban, the hard-line nationalist Hungarian prime minister who is scheduled to speak Thursday.
CPAC and its organizers remain friendly to Trump, and the conservative activist attendees have been overwhelmingly supportive of his political future. He has easily won the informal straw polls held at events like this since leaving office, including at the 2022 CPAC in February and the 2021 CPAC Texas last summer.
Yet Trump’s speech comes as his position within the broader GOP is strong but slightly diminished. Months of uneven results for his preferred candidates in Republican primaries have shown small cracks in his otherwise overwhelming loyalty among GOP voters. And the summer’s televised hearings by the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol have highlighted the public case against Trump’s actions ahead and during the riot.
Since then, Trump has seen others emerge as potential rivals for the Republican nomination in 2024 — including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former Vice President Mike Pence.
Neither DeSantis nor Pence will be speaking this week, but other potential GOP candidates for president are scheduled to appear, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who is running for a third term in November, and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida.
Also appearing will be several Republican candidates on the ballot in the November midterms, including Senate nominee J.D. Vance of Ohio, gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake of Arizona and Tudor Dixon of Michigan, and House candidate Sarah Palin of Alaska — all of whom were endorsed by Trump.
Orban’s appeal to conservatives
Among the more controversial figures invited to speak at CPAC Texas is Orban, who has been embraced by elements of the American conservative movement in recent years.
The nationalist European leader has pushed forth restrictive immigration policies and clamped down on democratic institutions in Hungary while consolidating his own power.
Orban has also faced condemnation for remarks seen as racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic. Last month in Romania, Orban delivered a speech that a longtime aide denounced as a “pure Nazi text” in her subsequent resignation letter.
In his remarks in Romania, Orban made comments that were interpreted as a joke about the Nazi use of gas chambers against Jewish people, which was condemned by the International Auschwitz Committee. He also told the crowd that Europeans do not want to mix with people from outside of the continent.
“This is why we have always fought: We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race,” Orban said.
But Orban’s nationalist rhetoric has won him some admirers among conservatives in the United States, including Trump, who met with Orban recently at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club. Trump endorsed Orban’s bid for another term earlier this year and has repeatedly praised the Hungarian leader — including during a 2019 visit to the White House.
Another fan of Orban’s is Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who traveled to the Central European country last year and anchored his show from Budapest. And earlier this year, Orban praised Carlson during a speech at CPAC Hungary, an event in Budapest co-sponsored by the ACU.