Trump, seeking to show unity, will meet with his Republican partners on Capitol Hill

Former President Donald Trump plans to return to Washington on Thursday to meet with congressional Republicans near the U.S. Capitol, as the Republican Party attempts to present a united front and rally around a policy agenda. as the November elections approach.

The trip will be Trump’s first meeting with Republican opponents since a jury found him guilty of all 34 counts of falsifying business records in his New York hush money case, making Trump the first former American president convicted of a crime. However, since the historic guilty verdict, Republicans have largely lined up behind Trump, as he and President Biden continue to find themselves engaged in a tight race.

It will also be Trump’s first public visit to the Capitol since January. December 6, 2021 insurrection, during which a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol complex to prevent the certification of Biden’s 2020 election victory. Although Trump was not at the Capitol that day , his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including his actions before and during the attack, are at the heart of the federal charges against him.

Asked Wednesday whether he had spoken to Trump about his commitment to a peaceful transfer of power, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said, “of course.” [Trump] respect that, and we all do.

“We’re very happy to welcome back President Trump… There’s great anticipation and great excitement here, and I feel great,” Johnson said, later adding that the Republican Party was eager to talk of his projects after November and to “bounce back on ideas with [Trump] tomorrow.”

Trump is first expected to meet with House Republicans at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Capitol Hill Club — just steps from the Capitol — followed by another meeting with Senate Republicans also very close to the Capitol at 12:30 p.m.

A Trump campaign official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting, said it would be “focused on how Republicans can work together to advance policies to save the America “.

House Republican leaders briefed conference members at their weekly meeting on Wednesday about Trump’s visit the next day, urging them to arrive early at the Capitol Hill Club ahead of the rally. Few details were given about what might be discussed with Trump, who is the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

“I don’t know what the point is [of Trump’s visit] East. I found out with everyone else,” the rep said. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), said Wednesday morning. “So I’m just happy to entertain the former president and hopefully the next president of the United States. We’ll see what he has in mind.

Several Republicans reportedly said Wednesday that they expected Trump to brief them on what he sees as the top concerns of the American people and to explain how he could support his re-election efforts over the next five months.

“We don’t have time to let personalities get in the way,” the representative said. Ralph Norman (SRC) said on Wednesday, later adding: “For me it’s about turning the country around, saving it.” »

Norman, who supported former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in the primary, said he would also continue to push for her to become Trump’s running mate.

A moderate House Republican, who represents a swing district and spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the meeting, said he was bracing for chaos. But Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.), a moderate from a swing district, rejected the idea that Thursday’s meeting could become tense.

“I think it will be a meeting focused on morale and team building, where I expect morale to be good,” he said.

When asked if he was excited about Trump’s visit, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Tex.) — one of the former president’s primary GOP antagonists on Capitol Hill — said he was “definitely considering attending.” Roy said he thinks Republicans need to have a conversation “about what we want to accomplish in the spring of ’25, to talk about the agenda and the policies we should address.”

“I mean, people keep throwing around phrases like ‘reconciliation’ and all that stuff, but what’s that going to mean? what are we doing? What are we doing about tax policy? What are we really going to do at the border? Roy said. “So we need to be very clear about these things. So I hope we’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Republican senators were told that they would expect, when they met, “to hear directly from President Trump about his plans for the summer and to also share our ideas on a strategic government agenda for 2025,” according to an invitation obtained by the Washington Post.

Trump has clashed with Senate Republicans in the past, even though the majority of conference attendees strongly support him. Trump is also considering some conference members to be his running mates, including Sens. JD Vance of Ohio and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to attend the meeting, which will mark the first time he and Trump have spoken since shortly after the 2020 election.

McConnell broke with Trump over his refusal to accept the results of the 2020 election at that time and throughout January. 6, for which McConnell called Trump “practically and morally responsible.” Trump also later attacked McConnell’s wife — former Trump Cabinet Secretary Elaine Chao — in racist terms. But McConnell, who is retiring as leader after the 2024 election, has already supported Trump’s re-election, saying “it’s not surprising that as a candidate he has my support.”

At least one Senate Republican who disagrees with Trump will not be present: Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who voted to convict him after the January attacks. 6 Capitol riot. She told reporters this week that she had a conflict and could not attend Thursday’s meeting.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) disparaged the Republican Party’s agenda ahead of the meeting on Wednesday, saying the Republicans’ only policy idea was to recycle “the same Trump tax cuts that were revealed to be botched seven years ago.”

Trump demonstrated his power over Senate Republicans from afar when he helped defeat bipartisan border security legislation earlier this year that would have cracked down on asylum applications at the U.S. border. Mexico.

Although Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) led GOP negotiations on the bipartisan legislation, after Trump made his opposition clear, Senate Republicans overwhelmingly abandoned the bill. Senate Republicans rejected the bill a second time last month.

Some moderate House Republicans are still considering not attending their meeting with Trump, which could dampen his attempt to unify the conference. Trump is aware of GOP disunity, according to the representative. Byron Donalds (R-Florida), who said he speaks to Trump frequently.

But Donalds, who is reportedly being considered as Trump’s running mate, encouraged even those seen as critical of Trump to attend the meeting.

“I think if you just want to be distracted for the sake of distraction, he has a little patience for that — but frankly, I have a little patience for that,” Donalds said Wednesday. “So I think members should come forward. They should leave. It will be a full house.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ge.), a top Trump ally in the House, downplayed the possibility of tensions resulting Thursday from the presence of figures such as the Republican representative. Bob Good (R-Va.), who is embroiled in a public feud with Trump after initially not supporting him in the GOP primary.

“I don’t think President Trump even cares” whether Good is in the room or not, Greene said.

Marianne LeVine contributed to this report.

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