It’s a big week for the Republican party, as CPAC — aka the annual Conservative Political Action Conference — is set to begin on Thursday, running through the weekend. If you were wondering how they’d handle Donald J. Trump, the newly former president who has been accused of inciting a failed coup, it won’t be with kid gloves: Indeed, rather than cast him out of the party, they’ve handed him the keynote speech. But CPAC leaders have drawn the line somewhere: As per a mysterious tweet, they disinvited one unnamed person due to their “reprehensible views.” But the mystery only caused people to make plenty of jokes.
We have just learned that someone we invited to CPAC has expressed reprehensible views that have no home with our conference or our organization. The individual will not be participating at our conference.
— CPAC 2021 (@CPAC) February 22, 2021
So who is this person who’s too evil for the GOP? The tweet didn’t specify, though according to the New York Post it’s Young Pharoah, a New York-based musician who has spread QAnon theories and misinformation about COVID-19. That, for CPAC, is all well and good, but he’s also said Judaism is a “complete lie” and “made up for political gain,” which was too rich for their blood.
But it was the wording of the tweet, and the decision to keep the identity of the disinvited speaker a secret, that sent social media aflame with jokey speculation. Some wondered if it was You Know Who.
We tried to warn you when he ran for president. https://t.co/vmBpc61VyE
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) February 22, 2021
Trump isn’t on Twitter. You’ll have to call him. https://t.co/La4zwVKRq4
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) February 22, 2021
No, seriously, how is it not Donald Trump?
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) February 22, 2021
After four full years of abject misrule by that bloated, seditous sonofabitch, you’re late. But thanks for finally coming around. https://t.co/dczOAxoUiS
— David Simon (@AoDespair) February 22, 2021
Wait till they find out their keynote speaker incited a violent insurrection! https://t.co/bmEFSRsIVF
— Brett Meiselas (@BMeiselas) February 22, 2021
Or it could have applied to the many others who helped foment the deadly storming of the Capitol.
“There is no room for reprehensible views at our reprehensible views conference, now give a big hand to our first speakers: a pardoned war criminal and the sheriff who ran concentration camps; they’re here to call for civil war and deny that Sandy Hook happened.” https://t.co/3jh4y4ajI6
— A.R. (Author Revisionaries) Moxon (@JuliusGoat) February 22, 2021
Maybe it’s accused murderer Kyle Rittenhouse (who’s not speaking at CPAC).
Do you mean keynote speaker Kyle Rittenhouse? https://t.co/1BX3Tnszpz
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) February 22, 2021
Or Trump minion and alleged participant in a noted sex abuse scandal Jim Jordan.
Is it the guy who covered up the sex scandal at Ohio State? https://t.co/m6Xd8QRP5k
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) February 22, 2021
Although many found a conservative with “reprehensible views” to be awfully hard to pin down.
So, the whole thing is cancelled then? https://t.co/ff4ObeiQLU
— Tara Setmayer (@TaraSetmayer) February 22, 2021
The fact that this statement could apply to dozens of CPAC speakers is the problem with the GOP. https://t.co/IFCenk7iGg
— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) February 22, 2021
Dear @CPAC: Are you referring to the reprehensible view that the election was stolen? Or find 11,780 votes? Or stand by to a white nationalist group? So many to choose from. https://t.co/3YfTXgv0aY
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 22, 2021
And thus began the greatest mystery of 2021… https://t.co/9m8bkXTVcA
— @wefuckinghatedonaldtrump on Instagram (@GAFaboutthis) February 22, 2021
Conservative counter-cancel culture conference cancels conference caller ‘cos comprehensive characteristics counter conduct commandments https://t.co/ItNjL94iak
— Emily G (@EmilyGorcenski) February 22, 2021
I’m sorry you’re going to have to be more specific. https://t.co/LHQgdUvRyw
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) February 22, 2021
So just to be clear, CPAC, you are saying that ONE person you have invited has expressed reprehensible views?Am I incorrect in my understanding that expressing reprehensible views is, like, basically the purpose of your gathering? https://t.co/7lLw2SXsqm
— Julie Cohen (@FilmmakerJulie) February 22, 2021
This rules out absolutely no one from the GQP… https://t.co/PHnf4oaNLB
— Captain Jordy (@J_Mei21) February 22, 2021
Someone wondered why CPAC would stop with just one.
Just the one tho https://t.co/X0y9sJo7Vu
— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) February 23, 2021
Others questioned the extent of their sincerity.
This is about as credible or as me rejecting burritos and snark. https://t.co/pEEKmLVqna
— IncitementToResurrectionHat (@Popehat) February 23, 2021
And some reminded them that canceling speakers goes against this year’s theme, which is in fact “America Uncanceled.”
CPAC, the conservative conference which adopted the tag line “Uncancel America,” just canceled one of its speakers for expressing “reprehensible views” https://t.co/GmJ441D0uV
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 22, 2021
i thought the event was called “America Uncanceled?”and how much more foolish do u look by still having the guy speak who was literally made famous for saying “you’re fired” at an event called (checks notes) “America Uncanceled?” #upisdown #leftisright https://t.co/dj3BRMYOf2
— Robb Lawrence (@robblaw) February 22, 2021
The irony in this tweet is deeeeerep and wide. https://t.co/GSt8YnLjNP
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) February 22, 2021
Sounds like cancel culture to me https://t.co/JOuZIAT92k
— Emma Vigeland (@EmmaVigeland) February 22, 2021