Feb 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

CPAC chair says he would fear for Romney's "physical safety" if he attended

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Matt Schlapp, chair of the Conservative Political Action Conference, said in an interview with Full Court Press Sunday that he would be afraid for Sen. Mitt Romney's (R-Utah) safety if the former presidential candidate attended the yearly conservative conference.

Driving the news: Romney has faced substantial blowback from Trump loyalists in the Republican Party over his vote last week to convict the president in his impeachment trial. Schlapp had already announced on Twitter that Romney was "formally NOT invited" to CPAC after his vote to call new impeachment witnesses.

  • Donald Trump Jr. called on Romney to be expelled from the GOP last week, tweeting that the 2012 Republican presidential nominee is "forever bitter" that he will never be elected to the White House.

What he's saying: “We won’t credential him as a conservative. I suppose if he wants to come as a nonconservative and debate an issue with us, maybe in the future we would have him come,” Schlapp told host Greta Van Susteren.

  • “This year, I would actually be afraid for his physical safety, people are so mad at him.”
  • Schlapp later tweeted: "I wish Gov Romney no harm I just want him to find a new hobby away from destroying GOP momentum."

Go deeper: Romney explained impeachment vote in note to colleagues

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Mitt Romney. Photo: INA FASSBENDER/AFP via Getty Images

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Why it matters: Romney's plans emerged just one day after he expressed concern that the investigation "appears" politically motivated, aimed at hurting Joe Biden's presidential run. But a spokesperson for Romney said on Friday the senator changed his mind after Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) assured him the probe will be handled behind closed doors.

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The big picture: As the number of confirmed cases reaches 60 in the U.S., the top health professional — who was a health policy adviser in the Obama administration — is among several leading figures, in particular, Democrats, to criticize the president for his response to the outbreak.

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Why it matters: Ivanka Trump's role in the White House has been seen by some as a bridge to moderates based on her more progressive views on climate change, gun control, pay equity and parental leave.