The two men on the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential ticket are gathering current White House hopefuls this week in Utah for a summit for people seeking an alternative to former President Donald Trump.
Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and former House Speaker Paul Ryan are welcoming four current 2024 candidates and a number of other speakers in Park City, Utah, for an annual conference the senator has held for more than a decade.
The E2 Summit will run on Tuesday and Wednesday and will feature long-shot presidential candidates Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Doug Burgum as speakers.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will also attend the summit, which Axios reported generally covers topics ranging from foreign policy to business.
This year’s event is also a haven for people inside the GOP who are reportedly seeking “an alternative” to Trump, whose 2016 and 2020 bids were opposed by both Romney and Ryan.
Spencer Zwick, who is directing the event, told Axios the conference’s attendees and host “don’t just accept that Donald Trump is the nominee” for 2024.
“That’s not in their DNA,” he added. “They’re genuinely interested in a candidate they can get excited about and get behind.”
Zwick elaborated on the summit in comments he made on Tuesday to The Washington Post.
Romney’s former finance chair said E2 Summit guests and speakers are “sincerely looking for an alternative to Donald Trump” and that they “want to get excited about getting behind someone that they believe would be a thoughtful, serious candidate for president.”
Zwick admitted that although those who oppose Trump know he is “looming over” the primary, they are not going to remain quiet.
“If people in this room, and at this gathering, start to really get behind one or two of these candidates. You’re going to see some real movement in the polls,” Zwick claimed.
He added, “At some point, and hopefully in the not too distant future, we can start to coalesce around a smaller group of candidates.”
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida was reportedly invited to the event but he declined to attend.
The E2 Summit expects 250 attendees and the remarks of those speaking are not going to be public.
Trump is the current favorite to win the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination and has the support of 57 percent of likely voters in the Real Clear Politics average.
DeSantis is a distant second at 12 percent while all other candidates are currently polling in the single digits or lower.
Ryan currently sits on the Fox Corporation’s board of directors while Romney announced last month he will not seek another term in the Senate.