Trump not invited to 'secretive' think tank conference with GOP mega-donors: report

According to a report from CBS News, a "private, off-the-record" conservative conference that brings together policy-makers with GOP megadonors has skipped over inviting Donald Trump and will instead feature critics of the former president as well as a highly-placed advisor to President Joe Biden.

As Robert Costa wrote, the conservative American Enterprise Institute's annual World Forum is headed to an exclusive Georgia resort this week and invitees include some of the Republican Party's biggest donors who will engage in "invite-only discussions."

The report notes that the Center for Public Integrity has dubbed the gathering a "secretive" event "where industry titans and GOP megadonors [mingle] with mostly Republican power players at an exclusive, 'off-the-record' retreat."

"While the nonpartisan — but historically conservative — group has previously supported aspects of Trump's agenda, many of its scholars have become critics of the former president, particularly after he refused to concede defeat in the 2020 presidential election," Costa reported before adding, "This year's guest list also underscores how some leaders inside the establishment wing of the Republican Party and their allies on the right are increasingly eager to move on from Trump and loosen his grip on the conservative movement."

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Of note, he points out, is that this year's slate of speakers includes Democrats and contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination -- but not Trump.

One speaker who does stand out is Brian Deese, who serves as Biden's top economic adviser, and who is scheduled to participate in a breakfast discussion entitled, "An Interview with the Director of the National Economic Council," before the GOP heavyweight donors.

For reference Costa wrote, "In 2019, the AEI World Forum drew attention when it was reported that then-Vice President Mike Pence was sharply questioned by former Vice President Dick Cheney about the Trump administration's foreign policy, highlighting how various players in AEI's orbit have long been uncomfortable with elements of Trump's populist and nationalist policies.," before adding, "It is unclear whether Pence was invited to the 2022 event."

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