ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) — Former President Donald Trump is set to take the stage as the main event for this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday.

The annual political conference features conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States. This year’s event promotes speakers such as Donald Trump, Jr., Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Candace Owens, Sen. Marco Rubio and Papa John.

But many have been anxiously awaiting to hear from the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.

Conference attendees repeatedly pointed to Trump as their top choice for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, despite growing support for the ‘rising star‘ governor Ron DeSantis.

Thomas Longo, a 51-year-old contractor from New York, said he hopes Trump will run again in 2024, but was drawn to DeSantis because of the governor’s hardline stance on issues like vaccine mandates and critical race theory.

“DeSantis is a very powerful man,” Longo said. “He’s hopefully a potential president in ’28, I would prefer, at this point.”

DeSantis has already declined to take a side earlier this month in Trump’s war with former Vice President Mike Pence over the potential “overturning” of the 2020 election.

“It’s tough for the governor to be his own man if Trump keeps thinking he made him who he is,” a top Florida Republican told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss tensions between the two men. “But the governor doesn’t need Trump anymore. He respects him, but he doesn’t need him.”

Trump is scheduled to speak Saturday at 7 p.m.

WFLA News Channel 8 will stream the conference in the player above.

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