(WASHINGTON) — The Donald is back.
The real estate mogul who hosts his own reality television show, flirted with a presidential bid and seems never to be far from the headlines has been offered a speaking slot at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that will be held next week in the Washington, D.C. area.
“Donald Trump is an American patriot and success story with a massive following among small government conservatives,” American Conservative Union Chairman Al Cardenas said in a statement on Tuesday. “I look forward to welcoming him back to the CPAC stage next week. Mr. Trump’s previous CPAC appearance was hugely popular among our attendees and we expect it will be even more popular this year.”
Trump appeared at the conference in 2011 under very different circumstances. Back then, he was considering a race for the White House.
“If I run and if I win,” he said in February of that year, “this country will be respected again. I can tell you that.”
Later that year, Trump announced he would not be a candidate, Mitt Romney eventually won the Republican nomination and the rest is history. Trump’s special counsel and chief political adviser, Michael Cohen, said that Trump “is more popular today that ever and his attendance will undoubtedly generate incredible attendance figures.”
He added, “Mr. Trump remains concerned with the economic future of this country as well as our continued unfair trade practices with foreign countries. I suspect these are a few of the topics Mr. Trump will touch upon during his speech.”
And while those who attend the gathering will hear from Trump, they won’t see other prominent Republicans like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, neither of whom were invited to the conference.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Dylan Byers Sara Murray and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Dylan Byers, CNN
Z. Byron Wolf, CNN