Donald Trump visited Washington D.C. today to meet with rank-and-file Republicans in both the House and Senate.
For Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, it’s one of his last chances before the party’s nominating convention to garner more support from the Republican establishment. For many Congress members, it’s their first chance to witness Trump in person rather than over Twitter. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden emphasized the importance of the relationship between the presumptive nominee and Congress. That relationship so far has been uneasy at best.
Today was no different, as a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill seem to have had a remarkably hard time clearing their calendars to meet with Trump. As Politico reports:
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) told reporters he had ‘a longstanding appointment downtown.’ Another member said he had to be at the doctor’s office and couldn’t make it. A third said he had a ‘breakfast meeting.’ The member — who asked not to be named — then pulled out his schedule for Thursday morning. When he saw that there wasn’t any event on his schedule, the member took out a pen and wrote ‘Breakfast meeting’ on it. ‘See, I have one!’ he joked.”
And while some Republican who attended were upbeat about what they heard, others at the meeting were less enthused.
"I said before the meeting that Donald Trump has a lot of work to persuade many Americans, including myself, that he is able to lead this great country," Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania said, according to the Associated Press. "I still need to be persuaded."
"I like a lot of what he says, but not how he says it," Rep. Mark Sanford of South Carolina said.
So much for Trump being able to bring the party together.