Former US President Donald Trump is set to return to the political stage on Sunday - determined to show that he is still a major force in America and ready to purge his critics within the Republican party.
In his first post-presidential speech, Trump will address the biggest annual gathering of grassroots conservatives in Orlando, Florida, immediately after a poll is expected to show he is most attendees' first choice for the Republican nomination in 2024, reports the Guardian.
"We're looking forward to Sunday," Trump's son, Don Jr, told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
"I imagine it will not be what we call a low energy speech, and I assure you that it will solidify Donald Trump and all of your feelings about the Maga [Make America great again] movement as the future of the Republican party."
CPAC has always offered a glimpse of tectonic plates shifting beneath the conservative movement. In 2009 the conference disavowed the presidency of George W Bush, which had led to the Iraq war and ended in financial catastrophe. In 2016 it was wary of Trump, who cancelled his speech, but a year later it had fully embraced him and his administration.
In 2021 the conference seems to offer proof that the Republican party is no longer in the political mainstream but has veered into far-right extremism. Speakers have raged against "cancel culture", radical socialism and "big tech" companies while pushing Trump's bogus claims of election fraud and denying he has any culpability for the subsequent insurrection at the US Capitol.
CPAC is also working doubly hard to shore up Trump's position as Republican standard bearer even after he lost the trifecta of White House, House of Representatives and Senate and was twice impeached.
Matt Schlapp, the president of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC, told the Washington Post: "Even though Donald Trump is a one-term president, there's this feeling among Republicans that he was a huge, smashing success.