Cheney, the third-ranked Republican in the U.S. House, has drawn the ire of Trump supporters for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting insurrection at the Capitol on January 6.
Others argued the party would lose if it turned its back on Trump and alienated the working-class voters drawn to his populist message.
A conference dedicated to the future of the conservative movement turned into an ode to Donald Trump on Friday as speakers declared their fealty to the former president and attendees posed for selfies with a golden statue of his likeness.
But Trump is a singular force who maintains a vice-like grip on the Republican base, and all eyes will be on the 74-year-old showman when he addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference and teases attendees about his political future.
Cruz opened his remarks by making light of his trip to Cancun as millions in his home state of Texas were without power or water during a winter storm: "I got to say, Orlando is awesome!"
After going viral, the golden Trump statue at CPAC quickly drew comparisons to the biblical story of the golden calf from the Book of Exodus, which has largely been interpreted as an allegory for the dangers of worshiping false idols (like demagogues) in the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths.
Gonzalez, a second-term congressman and former Ohio State football player, is facing Republican criticism after saying Trump helped organize and incite the mob and "abandoned his post" while the Capitol was under attack on January 6. Some prominent Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, blasted Mr. Trump for his role in sparking the conflagration, but more members still voice support for him.
A Trump supporter sculpted a gold statue of the former president that was on display at the conference Credit REUTERS
Keenly watching will be other Republicans interested in running for president themselves, but not wanting to face off against Mr Trump in a primary.
'I may not have Twitter or the Oval Office, but I'm still in charge, ' a longtime adviser said of Trump's planned message, adding that payback is his main motivator right now.
This address will be his first time directly addressing his supporters since leaving Washington via Air Force One for West Palm Beach on January 20, where he has remained since. Asked whether he thought Mr. Trump would follow that advice, Mr.
Ted Cruz (R-TX) addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference held in the Hyatt Regency on February 26, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.
Mr Trump's speech at the culmination of an event packed with grievance at the 2020 presidential election result.
Mr. Pence, who was in the Capitol with his family when rioters stormed in chanting: "Hang Mike Pence!" is not expected to attend this year's CPAC. It is a prime venue for speakers who want to gauge interest in whether they should run for president based on the enthusiasm they generate.
Many Republicans think Mr. Trump will flirt with another run to freeze the 2024 field but believe he will ultimately opt out of running.