President Trump will attend the Senate Republican weekly luncheon next week, hoping to forge unity ahead of their battle to rewrite the tax code. It will be Trump’s first visit to the Capitol to meet with Senate Republicans, after hosting many lawmakers of both parties at the White House.
“We are pleased to announce that President Trump will join us next Tuesday to press our common agenda and speed a great American recovery,” said Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.), chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, which hosts the weekly Tuesday lunch. “Leader McConnell and our entire conference look forward to welcoming the president. He noted the president said he was eager to attend the policy lunch.”
The announcement comes a few days after Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) huddled for more than an hour Monday, followed by a nearly 45-minute news conference. That meeting was the first one-on-one gathering of Trump and McConnell since the two carried on a public dispute in August in the wake of the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
At the impromptu news conference that followed Monday’s meeting, the president declared that he and McConnell were probably “closer than ever before.”
Next week’s behind-closed-doors meeting will also follow some increasingly hostile comments from some Senate Republicans, particularly Sens. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and John McCain (Ariz.), the chairmen of the Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, respectively, toward Trump’s capacity for being president.
Corker said that Trump’s offhand approach to commenting about global affairs was reckless and could lead to “World War III,” while McCain this week accused Trump and others of pushing “half-baked nationalism” as their ideology.