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Trump Re-Election Year CPAC Is A Fever Swamp-Filled, Star-Studded Coup-A-Palooza!

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The annual affair for Washington’s elite now also represents the choleric mud puddle at the heart of the right-wing fever swamp. And the theme of this year’s tribute to the President is clear: The libs staged a “coup” by investigating Our President! We need a do-over term in 2021!

Everywhere one turns in this year’s schedule, one understands that Mr. Trump has been treated very, very unfairly.

Why else would Thursday’s schedule feature the full-length production of “FBI Lovebirds“?

Yes, it’s what it sounds like: A live read of the text message chain between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who’s love affair on government phones — and subsequent congressional testimony — was made all the more irresistible by their blunt criticisms of the then-candidate.

The performance, apparently the first play in CPAC’s history, will be followed by a Catholic mass and a film about the patent system.

If only the first of those three options sounds compelling, you’re in luck: CPAC 2020 is coup-a-palooza!

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, for example, is a “Hero of Activism,” according to his Wednesday, 5:50 p.m. speaking slot. Attendees are encouraged to “Meet the person the Deep State spied on in their attempt to topple President Trump.”

The next morning at 7:55 a.m., WABC’s John Batchelor delivers the first of CPAC’s six-part — six-part! — series of panels on the “Coup.”

Batchelor starts us off with “The Coup on The Republic: A Prelude,” followed by “The Coup: The Day After Tomorrow,” featuring CPAC Chair Matt Schlapp and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC).

Then, like a knock-off Disney+ franchise, the coups continue: “The Coup: Rosenstein & Comey — The Empire Strikes Back,” “The Coup: Impeachment — Hyped Slimes and Nancy’s Schemer,” “The Coup: SpyGate” and, finally, “The Coup: A Witch Hunt Begins — Hillary’s Ukrainian Insurance Policy.”

TPM counted 29 members of Congress on the CPAC speaking agenda, plus five senators, seven Cabinet-level administration officials, and two ambassadors — including Trump’s newly designated Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell.

The real show of force, though, comes from Trump’s campaign: In addition to the President himself, Don Jr., Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle, dozens of Trump campaign staff, surrogates and Republican vendors will school CPAC 2020 attendees on the tools they’ll need to win this election cycle — such as how to “Weaponize Social Media.”

Still, at the end of the day, campaign talking points on offer at CPAC boil down to the time-tested technique of scaring old people with socialism.

In all, CPAC 2020 scheduled eight events on the evils of socialism, including “Exposing and Defeating the Socialist Plot to Hijack America” and “Socialism & The Great Awokening,” the latter featuring various new media personalities.

The red scare spills onto the conference floor, as well: One of CPAC’s exhibitors this year, listed alongside the Koch brothers’ political data firm i360 and Conservatives for Property Rights, is the confusingly named, “Mises vs. Marx – The Definitive Capitalism vs. Socialism Rap Battle.” That’s likely a reference to a semi-viral YouTube video of the same name, produced by the conservative American Institute for Economic Research.

Alas, no one really provides a window into the uniquely Trumpian mix of oddball internet humor and right-wing extremism like Carpe Donktum, the pro-Trump meme creator who was invited to the White House alongside several viral peers in July last year. Donktum will speak on a Thursday panel, “The Future of Social Media in the Public Square.”

On Twitter recently, Donktum — real name Logan Cook — got a bit of attention for a highlight reel he made of the nativist Polish politician Dominik Tarczyński. The video features interviews in which Tarczyński says he doesn’t care about being called a racist, and that “not even one Muslim illegal migrant will come to Poland, ever.”

Against the montage of remarks from Tarczyński about Muslim migrants, viewers hear a thrash metal backing track: Megadeth’s “Holy Wars… The Punishment Due.”

“Please play this on main stage at @CPAC” the outcast conservative commentator Michelle Malkin replied to Donktum. Donktum retweeted her request.

Correction: This post initially claimed that former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo had called Carter Page a “coffee boy.” That’s incorrect — Caputo referred to George Papadopoulos with the moniker.

About The Author

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Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously associate editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.