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Trump returns to Capitol for first time since Jan. 6 attack in visit GOP calls 'unifying'

Trump returns to Capitol for first time since Jan. 6 attack in visit GOP calls 'unifying'
Trump returns to Capitol for first time since Jan. 6 attack in visit GOP calls 'unifying'

 


Former President Donald Trump rallied House and Senate Republicans to the Capitol on Thursday, his first appearance at the Capitol since his supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and his first visit to Washington since he was convicted on 34 counts by a New York Times. York Jury.

“There is tremendous unity within the Republican Party,” Trump said after meeting with Republican senators at the National Republican Senatorial Committee, without taking questions from reporters.

Trump met with the entire House Republican conference on Thursday, then with Republican senators.

The former president's appearance before House Republicans was, in the words of Republican Rep. and ally Matt Gaetz, a “pep rally.” Rep. Elise Stefanik, who chairs the House Republican Conference, called the meeting a “very successful” political gathering.

“We are 100 percent united behind his candidacy and are ready to work on behalf of the American people,” Stefanik told reporters, calling Trump's appearance a “unifying event.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been an outspoken critic of former Trump for years but supported him for president in March, called the meeting “really positive.”

“He and I had a chance to talk a little bit, we shook hands a few times,” McConnell told reporters. “He received many ovations. It was a very positive meeting.”

Republican Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said Trump has discussed with Republicans how tips might not be taxed, which Rounds said could be a popular change to the tax code and the economy.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at the Capitol Hill Club, Thursday, June 13, 2024, in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Republican leaders said Trump addressed immigration and the economy, as well as the various legal situations he faced. The president, who spoke with House Republicans in the morning, planned a series of meetings at the Capitol. Trump has not visited the Capitol since before the attack on January 6, 2021, when his supporters attacked the building and disrupted the joint session of Congress that was certifying President Biden's election victory.

The former president was convicted last month of 34 counts of falsifying business records to pay adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump denied the allegations and said after the verdict that “nothing ever happened.” His campaign said his fundraising has skyrocketed since his conviction.

Republican House Majority Whip Tom Emmer insisted that Trump's trial and conviction in Manhattan, which Emmer called a “sham,” “only gave him more energy “.

“Donald Tump is going to win, Donald Trump is going to help us win,” Emmer said.

House Republicans will hit the ground running in January 2025 with the 47th President of the United States! 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/hSWZFeGXqR

— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) June 13, 2024

While Trump visited Capitol Hill, the Biden campaign released an ad boosting Trump on Jan. 6, and the Democratic National Committee is launching a mobile billboard in the area. The move comes as some of the officers present on January 6, 2021 are traveling to key states on behalf of the Biden campaign.

Congressional Democrats also denounced the visit, with Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the now-disbanded House committee that investigated the attack, asking “how dare Trump show his face for such reasons?”

Trump continues to insist that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and has questioned the integrity of the upcoming November election — as have several of his Republican allies.

Ahead of Trump's meeting with congressional Republicans, Republicans on the House Administration Committee issued subpoenas for documents from President Biden's Cabinet on the agency's efforts to help with voter registration , electoral information and to combat electoral disinformation and conspiracy theories. Subpoenas were sent to 15 department officials.

Former President Donald Trump with Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin. Office of Governor Youngkin

While in the region, Trump also met with Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin in Virginia to review recent state polling data that suggests the state could be competitive in November, sources close to the matter indicated. The Trump campaign has a recent internal poll that shows Trump within striking distance of Mr. Biden in Virginia, a state the president won by 10 points in 2020.

If the Trump campaign begins to make more of an effort to flip the state, which hasn't supported a Republican for president since 2004, that could push the Biden campaign to devote more resources to a state considered safe for president. president.

The Biden campaign has six field offices and has hosted several popular events in the commonwealth, including a pickleball tournament to woo senior voters on Wednesday.

“Virginians have rejected Trump every time he has run here, and his MAGA allies were soundly defeated last year after campaigning on his agenda of banning abortion in the Commonwealth,” said Jake Rubenstein, Biden-Harris 2024 Virginia campaign manager. “We are mobilizing voters in every corner of Virginia and we look forward to defeating Trump for a third time in November.”

Kaia Hubbard and Aaron Navarro contributed to this report.

More from Kathryn Watson

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