Trump cancels CPAC appearance, speech

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Republican front-runner Donald Trump said Friday he is canceling his Saturday speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Trump was scheduled to speak Saturday morning at the annual gathering of conservative activists held near Washington, D.C.

The American Conservative Union, which hosts CPAC, tweeted: “Very disappointed (at)realDonaldTrump has decided at the last minute to drop out of (hash)CPAC -- his choice sends a clear message to conservatives."

The four remaining GOP presidential contenders – Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson – are still expected to attend.

The annual three-day conference was first held in 1973.

Since then, the conference has grown to include more than 6,000 attendees, ranging from elected officials to conservative activists. During the conference, attendees can attend panels and listen to political speeches. CPAC is often seen as a stage where candidates can test their message on conservative voters.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement that he will be holding a rally on Saturday in Kansas, followed by another one in Orlando, and therefore cannot attend.

His campaign also said Trump looks forward to attending the conference next year “hopefully as president of the United States.”