Jun 11, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump sets first Hill meetings since he left D.C.

Donald Trump

Former President Trump speaks at a rally Sunday in Las Vegas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump is set to return to Capitol Hill on Thursday for the first time since leaving office, with plans for strategy sessions with House and Senate Republicans about the upcoming election and his 2025 agenda.

Why it matters: The meetings are part of an effort to boost GOP ranks in Congress and help Trump get a jump on his policy agenda should he win back the White House in November.

Driving the news: Trump already is plotting with House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) to hit the ground running with an agenda that includes tax cuts and rolling back Biden-era energy policies.

  • Trump also has made clear he wants to overhaul agencies such as the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security and FBI, make it easier to fire civil servants and dramatically increase the president's powers to act unilaterally.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee will meet Thursday morning with the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club, a Republican clubhouse a block from the Capitol, Axios' Juliegrace Brufke and Andrew Solender reported.

  • Trump and GOP lawmakers will "discuss growing the House Republican majority and the 2025 legislative agenda," a Johnson spokesman told Axios.
  • The former president, who will be in Washington for a Business Roundtable event, also plans to huddle with Senate Republicans midday Thursday to discuss a "strategic governing agenda in 2025," Axios' Stef W. Kight reported.

The big picture: The in-person sessions with large groups of lawmakers offer Trump a chance to put his salesmanship skills to work in a closed-door setting less than five months from Election Day.

  • They precede a meeting the former president will have with Johnson and National Republican Congressional Committee chair Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort next week.
  • House Republicans are working with a razor-thin majority and face an uphill climb to retain control of the chamber but are in position to take control of the Senate from Democrats.

Zoom out: Trump's visit to D.C. comes as several House Republican incumbents have faced — or are about to face — bitter primary battles.

  • Trump has held off on attacking many House GOP incumbents who have been critical of him in the past, apparently to try to avoid weakening those Republicans.
  • Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina are holding down-ballot primaries today.

The intrigue: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has had a tumultuous relationship with the former president, will attend Thursday's session in that chamber.

  • The two haven't spoken since December 2020, shortly before Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The other side: Democrats, meanwhile, are mobilizing to counter Republican policy in a potential second Trump presidency.

  • A group of House Democrats led by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) launched a task force Tuesday aimed at countering Project 2025, a policy roadmap put forward by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
Go deeper