Republicans reveal what Trump talked about in his closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill

Donald Trump met with House Republicans on Thursday, marking his first visit to the Hill since before the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots.

The former president met with members of his party behind closed doors, just weeks ahead of the Republican National Convention — where Trump will be named the party’s presidential nominee — and five months ahead of the 2024 election.

Dueling protesters heckled Republicans as they filed into the Capitol Hill Club, where Republicans often hold their meetings. Some protesters held signs calling Republicans “boot lickers” and warned them: “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” Other protesters from Code Pink, a radical anti-war group, protested US support for Israel.

The meeting is part of a full day for Trump in Washington. Afterwards, he will stick around in the city, where he is expected to record an appearance on social media star Logan Paul’s podcast.

Trump is also set to address a gathering of CEOs this afternoon, as he continues his trend of explicitly offering to enact or dismantle policies to benefit major donors. Afterward, he will meet with Senate Republicans, though some of his biggest critics in the Senate GOP conference will not attend.

Many Republicans expressed optimism to The Independent after their morning meeting with him.

“We talked about the border, talked about the crazy inflation rate, things that we need to fix,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan said.

Others said that Trump spoke about numerous subjects, ranging from helping Republicans down-ballot, to abortion, to the war in Ukraine.

“He talked about exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother,” Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina told The Independent. Mace, who previously criticized Trump for his actions on January 6, received his endorsement ahead of her primary on Tuesday, which propelled her to victory despite her vote to eject Kevin McCarthy as speaker last year.

Mace has previously expressed concern that Republicans’ messaging on abortion would repel female voters.

“He talked about, ‘it's in the people's hands now, and that we have to speak about abortion correctly,’ which is a message that the party needs to hear,” Mace added, in conversation with The Independent.

Republicans have a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives, with 17 Republicans hailing from seats that voted for President Joe Biden. The direction of the House could easily hinge on how voters decide the presidential race.

But Representative Marc Molinaro of New York, a Biden district Republican, did not seem concerned going into the meeting with Trump, noting how his district voted for Trump in 2016.

“I am exceptionally tied to the people that I represent,” Molinaro said. “So if President Trump's going to deliver to make it easier for the people of upstate New York, then that will be better than what they've been experiencing these last four years.”

Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, one of Trump’s strongest allies in the House, told The Independent that Trump would be a boost for Republicans on the ticket.

“President Trump talked about his specific strategies he was going to use to ensure that Trump voters show up in November and that they go all the way down the ticket,” he said. “He was there to really let Republicans know that he was there to elect big majorities in the House and the Senate and that he thought that would be essential to getting his agenda accomplished.”

President Joe Biden’s campaign denounced Trump’s visit.

Representative Bennie Thompson — who served as the chairman of the House select committee that investigated the January 6 riot — put out a statement that read: “Since January 6th, Donald Trump, a twice-impeached convicted felon, has repeatedly doubled down on his disrespect for the rule of law and continues to sow hate and division. He still presents the same dire threat to our democracy that he did three years ago — and he’d be wise to head back to Mar-a-Lago and await his sentencing.”

Republicans in attendance seemed unbothered by Trump’s recent legal woes, which include being convicted of 34 charges in New York.

Representative Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania served as an manager for Trump’s second impeachment, which was related to the January 6 riot.

“Every one of themselves has given over their soul, their credibility, in service of one man who is a criminal,” she told The Independent outside of the Capitol Hill Club.