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Trump, McCarthy meet and agree on GOP goal to take House

Mark Niquette

Washington — Donald Trump, in a meeting with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday, agreed to help the GOP retake control of the House in 2022.

McCarthy went to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida where the two men discussed many topics, starting with how Republicans can win the seven seats needed in next year’s midterm elections to retake the House, according to an account of the meeting provided by the Save America PAC.

“President Trump’s popularity has never been stronger than it is today, and his endorsement means more than perhaps any endorsement at any time,” Save America said in a statement, calling the meeting “a very good and cordial one.”

President Donald Trump, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks with reporters while in air en route to Andrews Air Force Base Saturday, May 30, 2020, in flight.

A Jan. 15 Pew Research poll showed only a 29% job approval for Trump, the lowest of his presidency, as he was about to leave office.

McCarthy also said in a statement that Trump committed to helping elect Republicans in the House and Senate in 2022. He said a Republican majority “will listen to our fellow Americans and solve the challenges facing our nation” while Democrats have a divisive agenda “such as impeaching a president who is now a private citizen.”

The statements from McCarthy and Save America both included a picture of a smiling Trump standing next to the minority leader at the gilded Mar-a-Lago.

The McCarthy visit came after the minority leader had said the former president “bears responsibility” for the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters. That assault, which left five people dead, prompted 10 House Republicans, including Liz Cheney of Wyoming, a top McCarthy lieutenant, to vote for Trump’s impeachment.

McCarthy has since said he didn’t think Trump, who now faces an impeachment trial in the Senate, provoked the insurrection.

The meeting also came as the Republican Party confronts a split between a faction that remains fiercely loyal to Trump and others keen to move on. In a backlash that followed Cheney’s vote, Trump supporters have demanded that she be ousted from her leadership role. McCarthy, at the same time, has been trying to soothe acrimony within the party and focus on defeating the Democrats in next year’s elections.

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told The Associated Press this week that the party would not automatically back Trump in a 2024 presidential race if he chooses to run again.

McDaniel, a Trump loyalist who earlier this month was reelected to the party’s top post, said she sees him as having a continuing role to play, even if he isn’t a candidate. “What I really do want to see him do, though, is help us win back majorities in 2022,” she told the AP.

The RNC is planning to invite Trump to its spring donor meeting in Florida in April, Politco reported, citing an unnamed source.

Trump has said he plans to be active endorsing candidates and opposing those he considers disloyal, particularly Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump blames for not helping him overturn the Nov. 3 election results in that state.