Donald Trump will speak at Conservative Political Action Conference

Business and reality show star Donald Trump will speak at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, according to press release from the event's organizer that was distributed by Trump's spokesman Tuesday.

In the release, the American Conservative Union's president Al Cardenas called Trump "an American patriot and success story with a massive following among small government conservatives."

"I look forward to welcoming him back to the CPAC stage next week. Mr. Trump's previous CPAC appearance was hugely popular among our attendees and we expect it will be even more popular this year," Cardenas wrote.

Trump last spoke at CPAC in 2011, when he was publicly flirting with a bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. He eventually said he wouldn't seek the nomination since it would mean giving up his reality show "The Apprentice."

That didn't stop Trump from playing a vocal role in the presidential contest, coming out in support of eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney at an event in Las Vegas. He also helped fundraise for Romney.

Trump also revived his "birther" criticism of President Barack Obama last spring, dismissing the birth certificate released by the White House in 2011 showing Obama was born in Hawaii as fraudulent. Contemporaneously published newspaper announcements also noted the birth in the Aloha State.

During his speech at the event two years ago, Trump criticized Ron Paul as unelectable, eliciting boos from supporters of the then-Texas congressman.

CPAC is considered a key speaking engagement for any Republican thinking about running for president in 2016. Politicians who are thought to be considering presidential bids and are on the CPAC speaking list include Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Also on the roster are Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who was a 2012 Republican presidential candidate; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee, will also speak at the conference.

But there has also been a notable omission from the speaking list: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. A person close to CPAC said last month Christie wasn't invited to speak at the conservative conference.

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