Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication

Gaylord News

Trump returns to Washington, meets with GOP allies, including Oklahoma delegation

Rep.+Tom+Cole+leaves+Capitol+Hill+Club+after+meeting+with+Trump.%0AMadeline+Hoffmann%2FGaylord+News
Rep. Tom Cole leaves Capitol Hill Club after meeting with Trump. Madeline Hoffmann/Gaylord News

WASHINGTON – Former President Donald Trump met with Republican congressional members Thursday to address his potential second-term agenda, marking his first return to Capitol Hill since the Jan. 6 attacks.

Despite recent felony convictions, Trump arrived in Washington “upbeat” and “positive” to discuss his priorities for a possible return to the White House.

Trump first met with House GOP members at the Capitol Hill Club. U.S. Representative Tom Cole (R-Moore), chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said the atmosphere was uplifting.

“It was fantastic, and a pretty good ‘rally the troops’ kind of speech. The typical Trump speech,” Cole said, who is facing a challenger in next Tuesday’s primary election.

While the former president remained at the White House until Jan. 20, 2021, he had not made an appearance on Capitol Hill since the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Much of the meeting with House members centered around Trump’s campaign, policies he would implement if elected, and earning both House and Senate Republican majorities. In terms of policy, Cole said Trump is set on reimplementing a “secure border and strong military” to the nation.

Alongside national defense, U.S. Representative Kevin Hern (R-Tulsa) said Trump also emphasized reinstating prior Trump-era foreign policy, such as ceasing international wars and restoring focus on domestic issues.

“It goes back to the policies we had before. Strong border policy and returning America to its rightful place,” Hern said. “What we know right now, bad foreign policy of this President is costing lives all over the world.”

Rep. Kevin Hern speaking to the press following the Trump meeting.
Madeline Hoffmann/Gaylord News

A large portion of economic and foreign policy conversation centered around tariffs, which Hern said Trump intends to implement in response to countries that are not acting “free and fair.”

“The real message he’s saying is, ‘I have the right policies on border and energy and economy and foreign policy, and I’m going to reimplement those when we get back in office,’” Hern said.

After meeting with the Republican members of Congress, Trump met with most Republican Senators including Sens. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma City) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Stilwell).

Lankford said the Senate meeting at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters focused on a variety of topics, including possible solutions for the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border with an emphasis on working together in spite of their differences.

“He made some great comments like, ‘we agree on a whole lot more than we disagree on,’” Lankford said. “Let’s find areas where we agree and work it out.”

Throughout his discussions on future policy, Trump called for unity among the party’s members. Senator Mullin echoed Lankford’s account of the meeting, noting that the former president focused heavily on the importance of unity throughout the discussion.

“His words were ‘we agree on 90% of stuff, it’s the 10% that sometimes we bicker and argue about,’” Mullin said. “This isn’t the time to be focused on that 10%, we need to be focused on what we do have.”

Trump’s call for party unity comes after several Republican members of congress spoke out against the former President following the Jan. 6th attacks and the leadup to the 2024 election, resulting in multiple members losing recent primaries.

Despite this, Cole said that he and other Republicans are certain Trump will have the full backing of Republicans, leading to a second term in the White House and a platform for the party’s legislation.

“This Congress would be extraordinarily supportive of President Trump assuming he wins the election, which we’re very confident that he will,” Cole said. “The amount of support he will have from the Republican House and [potential] Republican Senate will give him a lot of chips to play in the opening year of his administration.”

 

Gaylord News is a reporting project of the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication. For more stories by Gaylord News go to GaylordNews.net.

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