A former chair of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday slammed what the event has now become, suggesting former President Ronald Reagan would not get elected by those in attendance at this year’s gathering.
Mickey Edwards — who led the American Conservative Union, which organizes the event, for five years until 1983 — ripped Republicans attending this year’s CPAC in Orlando for their devotion to former President Donald Trump.
In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Edwards likened the GOP to a cult whose members are living in an alternate reality.
Edwards served as a GOP representative for Oklahoma for 16 years until 1993 but quit the GOP in January following the deadly U.S. Capitol riot. The violence was perpetrated by a violent mob of Trump supporters who’d been whipped up by the then-president’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“The Republican party really no longer stands for any kind of principles, conservative or otherwise,” Edwards told Burnett on Friday.
“The party seems now to be completely following the lead of one man wherever he goes, which is the definition of a cult,” he continued. “Now all that matters is, ‘Trump is for this, we’re for this.’ And that includes denying truth, denying fact, denying reality. It’s such a disconnect from what’s really happened in the world.”
Edwards said Republicans speaking at this year’s CPAC “are living in an alternate reality in which facts don’t matter, the Constitution doesn’t matter.”
He also minced no words when commenting on current ACU chair Matt Schlapp, who has bought into Trump’s mass voter fraud lie.
“He doesn’t have the job that I used to have because when I was head of CPAC, it was a group that was based on conservative principles,” said Edwards. “We were strong supporters of the Constitution. We believed in free elections. We believed in democracy. These people don’t believe in any of those things.”
“You know, they’re no different than the people who flock to other totalitarian leaders in other countries,” he added. “They’re no different than they are in Hungary, they’re no different than they used to be Germany. Whatever their great leader says, they do, and there’s no underpinning of fact, there’s no underpinning or concern about the norms of free democracy.”
Edwards concluded that the CPAC of the Trump era is “not at all the same organization I led.”
“Ronald Reagan could not get elected to anything by the people who were at that CPAC conference this year.”
Watch the full interview here: