Donald Trump is paying his first visit to rank-and-file congressional Republicans, appearing Thursday morning at closed-door meetings of the House and Senate GOP caucuses.
The gatherings come less than two weeks before a GOP convention that a number of leading Republicans are skipping, including some in Congress. And while Trump is sure to be greeted enthusiastically by a handful of lawmakers, many more have expressed skepticism, criticism or outright opposition to a presidential candidate who has flouted conservative principles and divided the Republican Party.
Several have questions for Trump; others have already offered advice that the candidate has not necessarily adopted. Still others plan to skip Thursday’s meetings entirely.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who is in a tough re-election race, told reporters she had to attend an Armed Services Committee hearing at the same time. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida said he needed to check his calendar. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he was scheduled to preside over the Senate, but that others would benefit more anyway.
“Obviously I’m very familiar with Donald and his positions, I just came off an 11-month campaign where he was one of my opponents,” said Rubio, who was often mocked by Trump as “Little Marco.” ”So some of the other folks perhaps wanted to spend more time learning more about his positions.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who was quick to endorse Trump but has criticized him for going off-script and lagging in fundraising, said he looks forward to “a frank exchange.”
“All of us are anxious to win the presidential election,” said McConnell, who recently has said Trump’s campaign is improving. “I think the one thing we agree on unanimously is four more years just like the last eight is not a good place for the American people.”
The meetings come as two potential vice presidential picks — Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Joni Ernst of Iowa — indicated that they weren’t interested in running on the same ticket as Trump.
The meetings will take place at the political headquarters of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, within blocks of the Capitol. Trump will meet first with House members early in the morning, and at a mid-morning gather with senators.
Ensuring an overheated atmosphere on Capitol Hill, FBI Director James Comey will be testifying to Congress at the same time as the second meeting, summoned by House Republicans irate over his recommendation against criminal charges for Hillary Clinton’s classified email handling.
Democrats are moving to find political advantage from Trump’s appearance. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which tries to elect Democrats to the House, released new ads Thursday targeting 10 vulnerable Republicans and linking them to Trump. The ads will be running on cable networks; one of them, “Sidekick,” likens Trump to a schoolyard bully and congressional Republicans to the bully’s sidekicks and asks: “Shouldn’t they really be standing up to the bully?”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
I would take four more years of improvements over one day of Trumps presidency anytime.
Free everything for lobs. You probably don’t even pay taxes.
what improvements are you talking about.? our Freedoms are under attack . or that endless theft of hard working people who pay taxes get screwed so cheaters and bottom feeders can continue living of the toil of others.
I WANT A LIST OF THOSE WHO SKIPPED OUT ON THAT MEETING, WILL DO MY BEST TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE OUT OF A JOB COME NOVEMBER!!
THEY ARE ALL TREASONOUS SNAKES AND SHOULD BE TARRED AND FEATHERED AND RUN OUT OF AMERICA ON A RAIL!
Bob Eagle says
We have not had 8 years, let alone 4 years of improvements in government under O’Bomba! Hillary would be a far worse choice for president. It is time to give Republicans a chance to make improvements in Washington, or even an Independent! Real unemployment is around 10% not 4%, 18% for college Graduates, and 24% for Veterans! Average salaries have not improved and have not kept pace with inflation! The only place Guilty Hillary should be sent to is Leavenworth Federal Prison!
Free College is dead on arrival, as there is no money to pay for it.
Silently with purpose i will go to vote
In november. Can no longer watch
The news. But come november if a
Person doesn’t vote for trump we will
Have 4 more years of obama policies.
He may be a big ole buffoon .. But
I think hes got more patriotism and
Integrity than the whole liberal field.
He makes mistakes..he says the wrong
Things sometimes. But he is only
Human. He wears his heart on his sleeve
And he doest hide. The lieberals are
Actually afraid of him. Many put their
Futures on clinton. E ith money and
Promises. You go trump u r the best
the resounding words of JFK come to mind .” ask not what your country can do for you ,but what you can do for your country” on why go to the moon . we do these things not because their easy , but because they are difficult as a challenge to our great republic. They bring out the best of the American sprit in all of us. the language of political corruptness was designed to divide us.by powers that pray on the ignorant and weak. the lgbt, black lies matter, feminists movement, illegal aliens are all manipulated by elites in Washington for their job security because as long as your a victim you need their help . we lost the hard work ethic for complacency and the give me other peoples stuff trolls. we carry the brain dead comatose flunkies at risk to our future. its time to stop selling ourselves short of lies and false promises by the likes of our Obama and his cronies.
Rob c says
If I was in trumps shoes and got elected the first resignation I would ask for would be speaker Ryan’s followed by the rest of the bought and paid for republicans that are opposing him. My second foray would be eliminating lobbyists period they are the root of all corruption. Then I would move on to immigration.