Donald Trump Jr., Virginia Gov. Glenn Young and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp will speak at the Washington and Lee University Trial Convention next month.
The event takes place every four years and is modeled after the nominating convention for the party out of power seeking to return to the White House. The final day of this year’s Mock Con, Feb. 9-10, features students predicting who will run at the actual Republican convention later this year in Milwaukee.
Also at this year’s event are former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who ran for president but dropped out earlier this month, former White House press secretary and current Fox News anchor Kayleigh McEnany, Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA there is and conservative activist Candace Owens.
Youngkin, Kemp and Pompeo have previously been considered presidential candidates in the 2024 election cycle, but each has declined to run for president this time around.
“The primary purpose of this convention – both educational and entertaining – is to represent a broad range of beliefs within the party,” said Madison McGinley, this year’s acting speaker chair for Washington and Lee. Trial Convention. “It’s Asa Hutchinson, and we’ve met names like Donald Trump Jr.”
“We’re trying to inform the student body about what the party looks like and how this election will go,” McGinley said he added.
McGinley and the other students responsible for organizing the convention began contacting potential speakers two years ago.
“The challenge with that is, especially with elected officials, most of them don’t have their schedules set for a month or two. So the most important part of that was keeping our names at the top of their minds,” McGinley said.
Addie-Grace Cook, spokeswoman for the Trial Convention, told NBC News that the university has hosted the convention every four years since 1908, with the primary purpose of predicting the candidate of the party outside of power.
“Since 1908, we’ve been right 75% of the time, and since 1948, we’ve been 100% accurate in predicting the Republican nomination,” Cook said.
In the past, the convention has also hosted future presidents, candidates and ticket-mates among the speakers, including then-Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, then-Georgia Jimmy Carter, then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware and then Arizona. Senator Barry Goldwater. Former President Harry Truman and former Vice President Dick Cheney have also spoken at the event in the past.
McGinley told NBC News that this was a factor in the group’s decision about who would be invited to speak this year.
“It was definitely a conscious part of the process,” McGinley said, adding, “We’ve had a lot of past presidents. And obviously that’s a legacy that we want to continue to preserve.