In his first formal appearance since leaving office, former President Donald Trump is expected to lay claim to the Republican nomination for president in 2024, his allies say.

Trump is scheduled to speak this coming weekend at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando. Sources close to the former president told Axios that Trump plans to tell the audience that he is the “presumptive 2024 nominee” and still the central figure in the GOP.

"Trump effectively is the Republican Party," Trump senior adviser Jason Miller said. "The only chasm is between Beltway insiders and grassroots Republicans around the country. When you attack President Trump, you're attacking the Republican grassroots."

Despite a White House exit marred by a second impeachment over the riots on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, the former president still enjoys widespread popularity. A phone survey of 1,000 Trump voters taken Feb. 15–19 by USA Today and Suffolk University found half of those interviewed felt Republicans should be more loyal to Trump.

Trump was acquitted in the Senate on one count of inciting an insurrection. If he were convicted, he would’ve been barred from ever holding public office again.

The Senate impeachment hearing exposed divisions in the Republican party, with seven members of the GOP crossing party lines to deliver a guilty verdict against the former president. A Trump adviser told Axios that Trump is now bent on revenge, saying his CPAC appearance will be a “show of force."

If he were to form his own political party, at least a quarter of those surveyed by USA Today said they would leave the Republican Party to follow the former president.

Trump will be joined by other top Republican figures such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Florida event. Former Vice President Mike Pence declined the invitation, two sources told CNN last week.

Trump turns 78 in 2024.

Trump acquitted Trump in February 2020 after he was acquitted in his first impeachment trial. Photo: AFP / Nicholas Kamm