Updated March 4, 2016 12:20 p.m.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland—It looks like Donald Trump will be a no-show at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference after anti-Trump forces threatened to protest the GOP presidential candidate at the annual conservative gathering.
On Friday, the Trump campaign announced that the real estate mogul will hold a rally in Wichita, Kansas, on Saturday before jetting off to Orlando, Florida. As a result, Trump will “not be able to speak at CPAC as he has done for many consecutive years.” CPAC didn’t seem to take the news well. “Very disappointed @realDonaldTrump has decided at the last minute to drop out of #CPAC — his choice sends a clear message to conservatives,” its Twitter account scolded.
One day earlier, there had been rumblings of a revolt. “We’re gonna do a walk-out on Mr. Trumpster,” William Temple—a fixture at the conservative convention held just outside Washington, D.C., who Newsweek once described as the face of the Tea Party—said Thursday, eagerly telling anyone who would listen about his plans to defy the Donald if he showed up on Saturday when he was slated to speak.
Wearing a yellow “DON’T TREAD ON ME” flag draped around his shoulders, Temple stood out from the crowd of mostly buttoned-up Republicans walking the halls of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. This isn’t the first time he has organized a walkout at CPAC. Temple did the same thing last year, only then his target was Jeb Bush. What do Bush and Trump have in common? “Neither one’s conservative,” he immediately replied. “When he comes in, we’re going to let him know that we don’t want to associate with a man that makes fun of Carly Fiorina’s face, or denigrates women, or is rude and crude.”