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Conservative group Club for Growth to hold retreat — with no invite for Trump

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A GOP source familiar with the closed-door donor retreat by the conservative Club for Growth confirmed to CBS News that the group is hosting a closed-press donor retreat for 2024 hopefuls during the same time as CPAC this week. 

Club for Growth's annual retreat will be held at the opulent Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, just three miles from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. However, Club for Growth, which has been public about looking to move the GOP past Trump, did not invite the former president to the retreat. 

Trump posted on Truth Social on Tuesday morning about Club for Growth, derisively  calling them "Club for NO Growth," and saying the group "is an insignificant group of Globalists who I have beaten badly because of their anti America First views. They will only get the 'stragglers.'" 

Trump, meanwhile, will be headlining CPAC, which will be holding its annual conference in Maryland the same weekend. 

American Conservative Union Holds Annual Conference In Florida
David McIntosh, Club for Growth, addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on Feb. 28, 2021, in Orlando, Florida.  / Getty Images

Club for Growth was formally closely aligned with Trump but their relationship frayed during the midterms, with the group and Trump supporting different primary candidates in key Senate battles like Ohio and Alabama. 

Trump posted on his social media platform earlier this month that "Relationship broke up over my Endorsement of certain great people in Alabama & Ohio. I won them all!" 

The influential conservative group also released polling earlier this month that showed Trump's biggest rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, beating the former in a head-to-head matchup.

The relationship between Trump and CFG has also been icy in recent months with David McIntosh, the former GOP congressman and president of Club for Growth, telling CBS News and other reporters that GOP voters should be "open to looking at a different candidate" than Trump.  "DeSantis is in the strongest position," he added, citing their poll.

Despite Trump not attending the CFG event, there are plenty of 2024 GOP hopefuls (and potential 2024 rivals) who will be speaking, including Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and Vivek Ramaswamy. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin were both invited to the Club for Growth retreat but could not attend, according to a source familiar with the planning. 

DeSantis and Pence declined invites to CPAC. Haley and Ramaswamy are the only two declared presidential candidates who are attending both CPAC and CFG events. Representatives of Scott had been discussing his attendance at CPAC with event organizers but as of Tuesday morning, Scott does not plan on attending the annual Republican cattle call.

Some GOP operatives associated with the non-Trump political operations have told CBS News that CPAC has become too closely associated with Trump and his campaign, and not worth attending, especially with the annual straw poll likely going to Trump.

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