ORLANDO, Fla. — The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will ramp up Friday with a focus on the Constitution as a slew of high-profile Republicans speak on how the Bill of Rights can apply to modern America.
The Bill of Rights is one of the major themes of CPAC, American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp told Fox News in an interview.
“The concept of the Bill of Rights, the concept that we have these constitutional rights that were words that were used intentionally to make it clear that we have these rights” will be a common refrain through the weekend, he said. “And what you have is a modern socialist Democratic Party that is undermining each and every one of them.”
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He added: “They don’t believe in using the amendment process to change the Constitution. They believe in going to judges to undermine our rights.”
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Among the major speakers who will hit on the topic Friday is Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. His speech is titled “Why the Left Hates the Bill of Rights … and We Love It.”
Lee will be one of the first speakers of CPAC, immediately following a welcome speech from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Lee’s talk will be followed by a panel on the First Amendment during which a different speaker will break down each of the fundamental freedoms provided in the amendment. Among them, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is the current Young America’s Foundation president, will address freedom of speech; Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., will talk about freedom of religion; and coronavirus lockdown skeptic Alex Berenson will talk about freedom of the press.
“It starts with the First Amendment, which we’re seeing under attack from the standpoint of the social media oligarchs,” Schlapp said. “And you can move right down and go to the Second Amendment. And Joe Biden has already talked about gun confiscations of people who they don’t believe are worthy of the Second Amendment rights they’re born with. “
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Schlapp added: “We’re going through each one of the Bill of Rights and explain why it’s under attack.”
Friday will also feature a panel on the Fifth Amendment, which protects against capital prosecutions without a grand jury indictment, double-jeopardy prosecutions, people being forced to bear witness against themselves in court and the deprivation of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
On that panel will be Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., and Ian Smith, the owner of a New Jersey gym who accrued over $1.2 million in fines for openly defying the state’s coronavirus lockdowns.
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Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will deliver an address titled “Bill of Rights, Liberty and, Cancel Culture,” while Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., will speak on “Fighting for Freedom of Speech at Home and Across the World.”
Also expected to be themes on Friday are election security, the riots over the summer and Big Tech.
The high-profile speakers Friday will also include Sens. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Cotton is considered a potential 2024 presidential contender while Scott as the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is responsible for guiding Senate Republicans back to the majority in the chamber in 2022.
The Friday edition of CPAC will be headlined by Donald Trump Jr., who is set to speak at 3:25 p.m.
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CPAC in 2021 is in Orlando, Fla., instead of Maryland where it’s traditionally held. Schlapp says that this is because of coronavirus restrictions.
“It was a very intentional decision to go to Florida,” he said. “We considered other states, Tennessee, Georgia Florida, Texas … Florida just seems like the obvious place,” he said.
“You know, the city of Orlando obviously has got the infrastructure to take a big conference. I mean, Las Vegas would have, too, but … the governor there just makes it impossible, is basically making it impossible for any business to be open, whereas the governor of Florida is doing just the opposite.”
There are some coronavirus protocols at CPAC. Attendees have to take a health screening and get their temperatures taken each day. Masks are mandated, though the mandate is not always followed.
Despite the precautions, the halls of the conference center are still packed with Trump supporters, conservative activists and right-leaning luminaries.
DeSantis’ welcome speech is expected to touch on what many on the right see as far too onerous coronavirus restrictions in left-leaning states — his address is titled “Florida Welcomes CPAC: Open for Business.”
Fox Nation is a sponsor of CPAC 2021.