Trump returns to Washington to plot second term strategy with Republican lawmakers

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(WASHINGTON) — Donald Trump is making a rare appearance in Washington on Thursday to lay out his second-term agenda to Republican lawmakers as he continues to stress party unity in the wake of his historic felony conviction and a month from becoming the party’s official nominee.

The former president is just blocks away from the U.S. Capitol to attend a slate of meetings with GOP allies.

First, he is huddling with House Republicans at the Capitol Hill Club, campaign and House leadership aides confirmed to ABC News. Later, he will meet with Senate Republicans at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters, where he will hold a news conference afterward.

During the meetings, campaign officials say Trump will lay out his policy plans on immigration, entitlement programs and the economy.

“Looking ahead at the policies that will save the nation such as Trump’s commitment to no impact on seniors with any cuts to Social Security or Medicare, policies that actually secure our borders and make our communities safe again, and an America first foreign policy that reclaims peace through strength and world leadership, and economic policies of lower taxes that reignite the vibrant trump economy we had just a few years ago,” a campaign official said.

Trump’s last visit with Republicans happened while he was president in September 2020, when he gave remarks at the same members-only Republican club.

Trump has stayed off the U.S. Capitol campus entirely since he left office shortly after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. The closest he’s come is when he met the executive board of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters near the Capitol building on Jan. 31.

House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are both expected to attend the Thursday meetings between their caucuses and Trump.

While Johnson and Trump have worked together on key issues since Johnson’s rise to the speakership last fall, it will be the first time since 2020 that McConnell and Trump meet face-to-face.

McConnell and Trump have a rocky relationship, heightened after McConnell recognized President Joe Biden’s victory in the wake of Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

McConnell, asked on Wednesday if he plans to “confront” Trump about their disagreements, dodged the question and repeated his usual support for the Republican “nominee.”

“I said three years ago, right after the Capitol was attacked, that I would support our nominee regardless of who it was — including him,” McConnell told reporters. “I’ve said earlier this year, I support him — he’s earned the nomination by the voters all across the country. And of course, I’ll be at the meeting tomorrow.”

Johnson has openly embraced Trump, who was crucial in supporting him when he faced the threat of being ousted threat by conservative GOP House hard-liners, saying coordination with Trump is important heading into November’s election and a potential second Trump presidency.

“I think it’s important for the country, to have us, to have close coordination,” Johnson said at a news conference on Wednesday. “I believe he’ll have, can be, the most consequential president of the modern era, because we have to fix effectively every area of public policy.”

At that news conference, Johnson also told ABC News he supports a bill that would allow current or former presidents to move state charges against them into federal court — a measure aimed at showing support for Trump after being found guilty in his hush money trial in a New York state court.

“I think that’s an idea that makes sense. It makes sense to most Republicans, and I think almost everyone will be in favor of that. And that’s what we’re talking about and trying to move some of this forward,” Johnson told ABC Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott.

However, not every Republican is set to fully welcome back Trump when he comes to the nation’s capital.

Sens. Susan Collins, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski, who have been vocal Trump critics, have blamed previous conflicts as a reason for why they couldn’t attend the meeting with Trump.

All three voted with Republicans to impeach Trump for his actions related to Jan. 6.

The group of political meetings comes as Trump is scheduled to be in Washington D.C. to participate in a moderated discussion at a quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable, a group consisting of more than 200 CEOs. Business Roundtable spokesman Michael Steel said the group invited both presumptive presidential nominees, but with Biden overseas to attend the G7 summit, White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients is slated to appear.

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