Trump returns to Capitol Hill in a first since Jan. 6 riot

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A packed room of House Republicans sang “Happy Birthday” to Trump in a private breakfast meeting at GOP campaign headquarters across the street from the Capitol…reports Asian Lite News

Donald Trump made a triumphant return to Capitol Hill on Thursday, his first with lawmakers since the Jan.6, 2021 attacks, embraced by energized House and Senate Republicans who find themselves reinvigorated by his bid to retake the White House.

Despite pending federal charges against Trump for conspiring to overturn the 2020 election, and his recent guilty verdict in an unrelated hush money trial, the Republican former president arrived emboldened as the party’s presumptive nominee. He has successfully purged the GOP of critics, silenced most skeptics and enticed once-critical lawmakers aboard his MAGA-fueled campaign.

A packed room of House Republicans sang “Happy Birthday” to Trump in a private breakfast meeting at GOP campaign headquarters across the street from the Capitol. The lawmakers gave him a baseball and bat from the annual congressional game, and senators later presented an American flag cake with “45” candles — and then “47″ — referring to the next presidency. Trump bragged that even his telephone rallies for lawmakers could draw bigger crowds than mega-popstar Taylor Swift, who has yet to make any endorsement.

In one remarkable moment, Trump and his most prominent Republican critic, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, shook hands, and fist-bumped.

“There’s tremendous unity in the Republican Party,” Trump said in brief remarks at Senate GOP headquarters.

Trump spent about an hour each with House and Senate Republicans delivering free-wheeling remarks, fielding questions and discussing issues — including Russia and immigration, tax cuts and other priorities for a potential second term.

During the morning session, Trump said House Speaker Mike Johnson is doing a “terrific job,” according to a Republican in the private meeting and granted anonymity to discuss it. Trump asked Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the speaker’s chief Republican critic, if she was being “nice” to Johnson, another Republican said.

“President Trump brought an extraordinary amount of energy, excitement and enthusiasm this morning,” Johnson said afterward, noting high fund-raising tallies since the guilty verdict. “We’re feeling good.”

The Republican speaker had demurred earlier over whether he’s asked Trump to respect the peaceful transfer of presidential power and commit to not doing another Jan. 6. “Of course he respects that, we all do, and we’ve all talked about it, ad nauseum.”

Many potential priorities for a new White House administration are being formulated by a constellation of outside groups, including Project 2025, laying the groundwork for executive and legislative actions, though Trump has made clear he has his own agenda.

“Anybody who thought that this president was going to be down after the sham trial … . It’s only giving him even more energy,” said Rep. Tom Emmer, the GOP whip. “Donald Trump is crushing this election.”

But Trump’s private meetings with House and Senate Republicans so close to the Capitol were infused with the symbolism of his return as the U.S. president who threatened the American tradition of the peaceful transfer of power.

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