This year’s Conservative Political Action Convention is now in the books. Held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Prince George’s County, Maryland, CPAC 2020 drew thousands of conservatives gathering together to ostensibly fight socialism, as signaled by this year’s pithy theme, “America v. Socialism.” Donald Trump himself finished off the four-day conference with a—ahem—zestful 90-minute speech.
Here we take you on a spin through the CPAC 2020 exhibit hall, which abounded with evidence of Trump-worship.
Dressing for success
The Make America Great Again dress, designed by fashionisto Andre Soriano and famously worn by singer Joy Villa at the Grammy Awards in 2017, was the first sight to greet all who entered the main exhibition hall.
‘Heroes & Zeroes’
This chimeric donkey-elephant hybrid was part of the ‘Heroes & Zeroes’ event, sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation, at which attendees were to place blue ballots in the box of the Republican politician they believed to be the “phoniest” to have secret Democratic leanings, and red ballots for their “favorite conservative lawmaker.” Such names for the phony side included U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie; Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio had boxes on the red side.
‘Buck the Chuck’—and the evil ‘BozzleBoops’
“Buck the Chuck” is a children’s book series created by the husband-and-wife team of Jeff and Lynn Yelton. The series follows the titular character, Buck, living a peaceful life in colorful Chucksville where freedom reigns supreme. Then one day, the no-good, (probably) socialist “BoozleBoops” come to town to steal all its color for themselves, prompting Buck and his fellow whistlepigs to fight back and defend their town. Jeff Yelton, whose wife was not present for CPAC, said the story was intended to teach children about “freedom, in general.”
The NRA does not like Mike
At the National Rifle Association’s “Students for 2A” event, a roughly four-feet-tall cardboard cutout of Michael Bloomberg was propped up for selfie action, alongside a huggy Joe Biden photo stand-in, not shown here, beside it. Gun rights activists have criticized Bloomberg for what they see as his draconian gun-control policy prescriptions.
At the American Conservative Union booth, as part of a new initiative for criminal justice reform, virtual reality headsets were offered to attendees curious to know what it was like to be an inmate in solitary confinement—an actually useful exercise. (Criminal justice reform is one of the few policy ideas on which there are points of agreement between Democrats and some Republicans.) The ACU is the organization that hosts CPAC each year.
Deplorable hammocks, fake news and Satan
At the far end of the exhibit hall where various vendors sold t-shirts, banners, and other Trumpian paraphernalia, the woven cotton Trump-themed hammocks stood out above the rest. The word “Deplorable” embroidered into the hammock at the top of the photo refers to the “basket of deplorables” comment made by Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which she bemoaned the observation that a great number of Trump supporters held hateful, troublesome views.
Curb appeal and sartorial flair
Banners and shirts in support of Trump’s reelection were colorful, as usual.
The Fox News channel’s side project, Fox Nation, had its own platform on a wing truck selling a plethora of Fox-related merchandise such as coffee mugs, t-shirts and even discounted subscriptions to Fox Nation content. The most noteworthy feature of the display, however, was the claw machine full of Fox Nation hats; attendees could try as many times as they want without having to put in a single coin…
The grift goes on
Project Veritas had its own display, which was graced with the arrival of their founder, James O’Keefe, who signed copies of his latest book, “American Pravda: My Fight For Truth In the Era of Fake News.” O’Keefe (seen here with a fan) was signing hats and clothes, as well. O’Keefe is known for manipulating video footage to push his agenda, as well as that one time he tried to “punk” a CNN journalist in the most awkward way imaginable.
400 pounds and tough as nails
At the Trump Towel display, an effigy of Donald Trump greeted passersby in a rather Supermanesque fashion. Created by sculptor Bill Secunda, the roughly 400-pound statue is made entirely out of welded nails (hence the “tough as nails” inscription at its feet) and is available for the modest price of $69,000.