US conservatives have unveiled a golden statue of former president Donald Trump, showing he remains a Republican force despite violent scenes in Washington last month.
Prominent congressional conservatives - including Senators Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley and Representatives Steve Scalise and Matt Gaetz - are among the Trump loyalists speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, which the former president will address on Sunday.
"Let me tell you something: Donald Trump ain't going anywhere," said Cruz.
Trump's tumultuous final weeks in office saw his supporters launch a deadly attack on the US Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to block Congress certifying Joe Biden's election victory.
If there was any doubt CPAC this year was devoted to Trump, the gold-coloured statue of the former president, dressed in a jacket, red tie and Stars-and-Stripes boxing shorts, was on display at the conference site.
Two participants wheeled the larger-than-life statue through the conference centre lobby, according to a video on social media.
It was unclear why the statue, showing a cartoonish version of Trump with an oversize head, was there.
The statue drew instant derision online, with commentators comparing it to the golden calf that enraged the prophet Moses in the Old Testament.
"Idol worship isn't conservative. #RestoreOurGop," Representative Adam Kinzinger, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the January 6 attack, said on Twitter.
Gaetz declared himself part of the "pro-Trump, America First" wing of the conservative movement.
"We're not really a wing, we're the whole body," he said.
He also appeared to forecast a future role for Trump, who is pondering another run for president in 2024: "Trump may not have drained the swamp all the way - yet."
Senator Rick Scott, a Florida Republican who may run for the party's presidential nomination in 2024, sought to thread the needle between pledging loyalty to Trump and signaling his own aspirations.
He said "President Trump has flaws" but that he had made the party more approachable for working-class Americans.
Hawley, another possible 2024 candidate, called himself part of the future of the party.
"We're not the past, we're the future. We represent the future of this country," he said.
Trump is expected to talk about the future of the party and lay out policies within a group riven by differences in the wake of his chaotic presidency.
Many other senior Republicans did not attend this year's event.
They included former vice president Mike Pence, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Representative Liz Cheney - another House Republican who voted to impeach.
Australian Associated Press