BREAKING NEWS: Trump pulled out of CPAC this morning.
He was scheduled to speak Saturday morning.
— CPAC (@CPAC) March 4, 2016
Trump will be campaigning instead.
Ted Cruz supporter William Temple was planning a walkout protest during his speech.
More from Kristinn:
Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump abruptly canceled his scheduled speech at CPAC Saturday morning as his campaign announced an appearance in Wichita, Kansas the day of that state’s caucus.
Likely factoring into Trump’s decision was a planned protest walkout during his speech at CPAC and the need to have a campaign presence in Kansas.
The organizer of the walkout, William Temple, who parades around CPAC in colonial garb, told BizPacReview he expected one thousand CPAC attendees to participate in the Trump walkout.
Temple organized a similar walkout last year during Jeb Bush’s speech at CPAC that drew around 300 protesters.
— Beatrice E. Peterson (@MissBeaE) March 4, 2016
Marco Rubio took a potshot at Trump after hearing the news…
— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) March 4, 2016
UPDATE: Rubio lackeys lobbied CPAC to remove him from the convention earlier this week.
Donald Trump’s speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday is prompting an acrimonious backlash from the conservative critics desperately trying to mount a last-ditch campaign to block the GOP presidential front-runner from winning the party’s nomination.
A top aide to Trump rival Marco Rubio has accused CPAC organizers of being in the tank for Trump and clearing the way for his acceptance into mainstream conservatism, while an anti-Trump super PAC is pressuring organizers to rescind their invitation to the surging GOP front-runner.
Potentially complicating matters further, sources tell POLITICO that Trump has made multiple donations totaling more than $100,000 ― including a $50,000 check last year ― to the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes CPAC. That dwarfs the amounts donated in recent years by allies of Trump’s rivals, all of whom are also scheduled to speak at the annual gathering, and seems likely to fuel already percolating suspicions among his opponents that the ACU has its thumb on the scale for Trump.
Even by the standards of CPAC, which over the decades has been in the middle of more than its share of contentious fights about the future of the conservative movement, the one brewing around this year’s gathering is shaping up as historic ― and historically nasty.