Some Signs of Improved Relations as Trump Meets Republican Lawmakers in Washington
Donald Trump met with Republican lawmakers in Washington on Thursday, July 7, hoping to reassure doubtful members of Congress that he is going to lead the party to a win in November.
He was joined in the meeting by his daughter Ivanka Trump and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
The Republicans gathered had a common goal: stopping Hillary Clinton from being elected president in November. Trump went into the meeting with a simple message to keep Clinton from winning: “We all need to stick together. Things will all work out in November,” said Californian U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert, who was in the meeting.
Not all of the meet and greet went well, however.
The presumptive Republican nominee butted heads with some of his detractors, including Senate rival Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Trump called him out during the meeting, saying, “Surely you don’t want Clinton.”
Trump also had a heated exchange with Arizona Senator Jeff Flake who has been one of Trump’s most outspoken critics.
Flake spoke up at the meeting, criticizing the presumptive nominee’s rhetoric about the Latino community, to which Trump responded by telling Flake that he was going to have problems getting reelected, which Trump mistakenly thought was this year.
Flake isn’t up for reelection until 2018, though.
“My position remains, I want to support the nomination. I really do. I just can’t support him given the things that he’s said,” Flake told reporters later.
The exchange was first reported on by the Washington Post.
Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois wasn’t in Thursday’s meeting, but it was reported by the Associated Press that Trump singled him out by name, supposedly calling him a loser.
After the meeting Trump tweeted: “Just leaving D.C. Had great meetings with Republicans in the House and Senate. Very interesting day! These are people who love our country!”
Just leaving D.C. Had great meetings with Republicans in the House and Senate. Very interesting day! These are people who love our country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2016
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan issued a statement on the same day declaring: “It’s clear that our party is committed to defeating Hillary Clinton and Democrats this November.”
— Paul Ryan (@PRyan) July 7, 2016
Trump also met with former rival Ted Cruz in a private meeting, and, while the Texas Senator has not yet endorsed the presumptive nominee, he did get a slot to speak at the convention next week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report