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Marco Rubio cancels speech at CPAC citing 'unexpected family issue'

The Republican senator said he was 'looking forward' to his speech.
Credit: AP
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, speaks during a Senate Select Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing for William Burns, nominee for Central Intelligence Agency director, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is at right. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP)

ORLANDO, Fla — Day 2 of the Conservative Political Action Conference 2021 hit a small scheduling snag when Florida Sen. Marco Rubio canceled his speech at the last minute citing an "unexpected family issue."

"I was really looking forward to it," the Republican senator tweeted Saturday.

He also said he told American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp CPAC should be moved to Florida "permanently."

A total of 10 speakers from the Sunshine State were scheduled to speak at this year's conference, including Rubio.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close ally and supporter to former President Donald Trump led CPAC Friday on the topic of being "Open for Business." It's something he has touted about Florida's approach to the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor is strongly against lockdowns and claims a large number of Americans have made their way to Florida to escape stricter guidelines. 

To open his timeslot the governor welcomed everyone and said he was happy to be there since if the event was held in a "lockdown state" he would not have attended.

"I have a policy I only travel to free states, so," DeSantis said. 

On Thursday, Florida Sen. Rick Scott stepped foot on the CPAC stage to discuss "The Way Forward: Unlocking Our Churches, Our Voices and Our Social Media Accounts." 

The Republican senator has openly supported Trump and voted to acquit the former president during his historic second impeachment trial.

Scott's main thread followed fighting for conservative values and saying that he won't "apologize for what we believe in." The senator also thanked Trump for having the guts to go to Washington and say "no."

The conference dedicated to the future of the conservative movement has turned into an ode to Donald Trump as speakers declared their fealty to the former president and attendees posed for selfies with a golden statue of his likeness. 

As the Republican Party grapples with deep divisions over the extent to which it should embrace the former president after losing the White House and both chambers of Congress, those gathered at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference are making clear they are not ready to move on from the former president — or from his baseless charges that the November election was rigged against him.

Former President Donald Trump will close out the conference Sunday with a speech at 3:40 p.m. It will mark his first post-White House appearance.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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