Donald Trump makes his Colorado debut Friday morning at a summit billed as the largest gathering of conservatives outside Washington.
More than 4,000 people are expected to attend the Western Conservative Summit at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, a production of a Centennial Institute think tank housed at Colorado Christian University.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee is expected to speak about 10:30 a.m. before leaving for a big-dollar fundraiser at the home of former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.
The summit offers Colorado conservatives their first look at Trump after he snubbed the state this primary season — despite solid support here — and later attacked the Republican Party’s caucus process after losing to Ted Cruz. The bad blood is just one reasonwhy Colorado is Trump’s nemesis and the visit is the first step toward easing tensions in a key battleground state.
However, the crowd for his first event is not a natural one for the billionaire businessman. The summit is traditionally packed by conservative firebrands and evangelical Republicans. The agenda for the three-day event features adversaries like Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, among others.
“The Summit is recognized as the national forum for open dialogue that celebrates conservative values, freedom and virtue as the elements most critical to the preservation of the U.S. Constitution and for the United States to thrive,” said Jeff Hunt, the director of the Centennial Institute.
Trump is the first presumptive presidential candidate to attend the event, which in prior years drew the likes of Ben Carson, Rick Santorum and Ted Cruz.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is expected to introduce Trump.