On Saturday, speaking to The New York Times, former Donald Trump 2016 campaign adviser Sam Nunberg argued that the ex-president's rush to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando so soon after losing the 2020 presidential election signifies his failure, rather than any ongoing strength within the GOP.
"In 2013 and 2014, Mr. Trump wanted 'to be part of the action,'" said Nunberg, adding that Trump "has 'to be part of the action' to keep his precarious grip as the leading contender for the 2024 G.O.P. primary ... The reality is that speaking at CPAC so soon after becoming only the 10th president to lose re-election is a sign of weakness."
Nunberg gained media attention in 2018 during a rant on CNN that he would never cooperate with former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation — an episode so bizarre it spurred allegations he was under the influence of alcohol on-air, which he denied. He ultimately backtracked and did cooperate.
"Few Republicans believe that Mr. Trump has the discipline to drop his desire for attention for long, if at all. Already, he has shown flashes of behaving like the political gadfly in search of attention he was in the years leading up to his run in 2016," wrote Maggie Haberman for the Times. "When Mr. Trump was considering a bid for president as early as 2011, he used his Twitter feed and his frequent Fox News appearances to inject himself into nearly every topic in the news cycle. Mr. Trump's advisers insist that he says he is happier without his Twitter feed."
Some GOP strategists fear Trump will use his CPAC speech on Sunday as a platform to air his grievances against fellow Republicans who have distanced themselves from his attacks on the election or accused him of inciting the Capitol riot in January.