Speaker Johnson Talks Election Strategy With Trump at Mar-a-Lago

Republican leaders are targeting down-the-ballot victories in November.
Speaker Johnson Talks Election Strategy With Trump at Mar-a-Lago
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 15, 2024. (Right) Former President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News town hall in Greenville, S.C., on Feb. 20, 2024. (Kevin Dietsch, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Samantha Flom

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) spent President’s Day with appropriate company.

With Congress in recess until Feb. 28, Mr. Johnson took time out from a House GOP leadership retreat in South Florida to strategize with former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

“Just had a great meeting with President [Trump] this Presidents’ Day,” the speaker shared on Feb. 19 via his X account. “Together, we will grow the majority and save America!”

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, was also in attendance, according to Johnson campaign spokesman Greg Steele.

Their primary topic of discussion was “growing the majority and securing Republican victories up and down the ballot in November,” Mr. Steele told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Johnson has been a vocal supporter of President Trump, as have other House Republican leaders. Earlier this month, the speaker put out a video calling on all Republicans to unite behind the 45th president as the party’s front-runner and likely nominee to become the 47th president.

“President Trump and I are very close,” Mr. Johnson says in the video. “I was one of his impeachment defense lawyers. I was a very close ally of his in Congress. I am convinced that he is gonna be the next president of the United States, that he will get a second term, and I’m very much looking forward to that happening.”

President Trump has held a commanding lead in the GOP presidential primary since he first declared his candidacy in November 2022. That lead has only grown in recent months as the once-double-digit field of Republican contenders has narrowed to just himself, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Texas pastor Ryan Binkley.

Mr. Binkley has flown so far below the radar that he has been completely ignored by most major pollsters and the other candidates.

Ms. Haley, on the other hand, has garnered the support of some Republicans—and Democrats—hoping to see anyone but President Trump on the GOP ticket. And while her support continues to fall far short of the former president’s—17.2 percent to his 74.9 percent, per RealClearPolitics—she has yet to accept defeat.

At a Feb. 20 campaign event in Greenville, South Carolina, the former U.N. ambassador once again reiterated that she was “not going anywhere.”

“Some of you, perhaps a few of you in the media, came here today to see if I’m dropping out of the race. Well, I’m not,” she said.

Attributing calls for her to drop out to “the political elite,” Ms. Haley said President Trump’s growing coalition of supportive party leaders was due more to political pressure than anything else.

“The pressure on them was way too much. They didn’t want to be left out of the club. Of course, many of the same politicians who now publicly embrace Trump privately dread him. They know what a disaster he’s been and will continue to be for our party. They’re just too afraid to say it out loud,” she contended.

“Well, I’m not afraid to say the hard truth out loud. I feel no need to kiss the ring. I have no fear of Trump’s retribution.”

Although she is undoubtedly hoping for an upset in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 24, Ms. Haley emphasized that she would be staying in the race, no matter the results.

“I’m campaigning every day until the last person votes because I believe in a better America and a brighter future for kids.”

Jackson Richman contributed to this report.
Samantha Flom is a reporter for The Epoch Times covering U.S. politics and news. A graduate of Syracuse University, she has a background in journalism and nonprofit communications. Contact her at [email protected].
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