Everyone who was pissed at Rubio for snubbing conservatives when it looked for five minutes like he might miss CPAC will be pissed about this too, yes?
— CPAC 2021 (@CPAC) March 4, 2016
Rubio has the flu right now, as it turns out. He’ll be speaking at CPAC tomorrow morning regardless. As for Caesar, I assume this’ll be blamed on a “scheduling conflict” just like his decision to skip Megyn Kelly’s presidential forum last week was. Occam’s Razor suggests an alternate explanation, though: Maybe, with movement conservatives crying “Never Trump!” for the past week, he didn’t want to show up at their annual party and risk being booed for half an hour with the entire GOP watching. Remember, his pitch lately has been that he alone can unify the party by bringing out disaffected populist voters and conservatives who loath the establishment. If grassroots righties boo him off the stage at CPAC, it’d be a PR catastrophe. So instead he’s ducking — which will be received, as CPAC’s organizers have apparently received it, as a snub of conservatives, itself a PR catastrophe. As the man himself would say: Sad!
Now Rubio will be even more well received tomorrow than he otherwise would have been by toughing it out when Trump chose to quit. I repeat what I said in this post: He should show up and read CPAC its obituary, if only for legitimizing Trump in the first place.
Update: Whaddaya know. Scheduling conflict.
Trump statement on not coming to CPAC pic.twitter.com/dsKwX0ddlr
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) March 4, 2016
“Witchita”? Is that anywhere near Wichita?
Update: Karol Markowicz has been at CPAC since yesterday morning gauging the mood.
I was thinking Trump would bail because this is a Cruz/Rubio crowd all the way. #CPAC16
— Karol Markowicz (@karol) March 4, 2016
Update: A rumor circulating on Twitter claims that attendees were planning to stage a mass walk-out on Trump after he began speaking tomorrow. Team Trump probably got wind and decided they’d rather ditch than expose themselves to bad optics. No one turns their back on the King!
Update: A friend at CPAC e-mails to say that Trump fans there are annoyed, some of them because they spent no small amount of money to travel to D.C. in order to watch him speak and now are going to have to eat their expenses with nothing to show for it.