‘Era of good feelings’: Republicans vow not to let Trump’s looming indictment distract them

Let’s not be distracted — that’s the message House Republicans want to double down on as former President Donald Trump is about to be indicted by the Manhattan District Attorney.

GOP members descended on the luxurious Orlando JW Marriott for a three-day retreat to celebrate their accomplishments and talk about their future priorities.

But since the rocky start to their newfound control in the House, GOP members are now insisting they are entering a new “era of good feelings” — and they won’t be divided by the former president and his chronic legal conflict.

Now Republicans have ticked off policy plays on China, energy, crime and education at almost every media availability during the retreat and reporters have forced them on Trump.

Just after the indictment was exposed as a bombshell, the Republican leadership offered a fierce defense of the former president. Now they are trying to shake him off, urging members not to talk about him behind closed doors.

GOP members descended on the luxurious Orlando JW Marriott for a three-day retreat to celebrate their achievements and talk about their future priorities

Trump and his potential indictment loomed large during the House GOP retreat

Trump and his potential indictment loomed large during the House GOP retreat

On Sunday, the first day of the annual retreat on the agenda, Chairman Kevin McCarthy said he didn’t think people should protest, stressing that Trump’s calls to do just that were “misinterpreted.”

On day three, the speaker praised reporters for waiting at least past the first question to question him about Trump.

“We’re not talking about this at our conference,” he insisted on the Trump issue. “You just ask about it. It just dominates your questions.’

“We’re not here to defend President Trump,” McCarthy said. “What we are here to defend equal justice in America.”

A law enforcement official told DailyMail.com that an indictment against Trump won’t come until Wednesday at the earliest.

McCarthy said he hadn’t spoken to Trump in about three weeks — and hadn’t communicated with him about Bragg’s investigation. GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik said she spoke with Trump on the phone Monday morning.

Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), the chairman of the center-right Main Street Caucus more hesitant to defend Trump, supported McCarthy’s claims.

“It’s not something we talk about,” the South Dakota Republican told DailyMail.com in an interview at the nearby Ritz-Carlton.

“So we’re definitely not — it doesn’t overshadow our work in the chamber,” said South Dakota’s at-large Republican. “That’s what the media want to talk about when we walk out.”

Asked to respond to allegations of improper hush money payments paid by Trump’s personal attorney to Stormy Daniels, speaker McCarthy pointed to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee — they were both fined for using the money they issued to the opposition had not been properly disclosed. investigation into the Trump-Russia dossier.

“This was personal money. I wasn’t trying to hide it. This was seven years ago, statute of limitations,” McCarthy said, referring to the Daniels payment. “I think deep in my heart, you also know that you think this is only political.”

At one point, McCarthy was asked if Trump was still the “leader of your party.”

“He’s in the press room for all of you,” the California Republican fired back.

1679419423 224 Era of good feelings Republicans vow not to let Trumps

“We’re not here to defend President Trump,” McCarthy said. “What we are here to defend equal justice in America.”

McCarthy listed the House GOP’s accomplishments of the first three months: voting for a bill to recover $80 billion from the IRS, establishing a select committee on China, ending proxy voting, voting to protect the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and enforcing the president’s first veto on a bill against ESG investing — the upcoming vote on the Parents’ Bill of Rights and the HR 1 energy package.

“You now have a relationship between the speaker and your minority leader that we didn’t have before,” McCarthy continued, referring to the friendlier tone between him and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“So what’s interesting to me is that we turned Congress upside down in less than three months. Now, the real question you really want to ask me, can I rock the press room?’ he grabbed. ‘I believe in you.’

‘Era of good feelings’: Republicans insist their message of unity isn’t just for show

After a speaker’s 15-vote vote nearly led to a fistfight on the House floor, Republicans claim their conference is now shockingly united.

“We just came to a conference that didn’t see a fight,” McCarthy said, ticking off what he saw as a win.

“I think it’s remarkable, this era of good feelings … it seems to me that in more traditional MO people are nice, but then interested in undermining people in private,” Rep. mused. Johnson in an interview with DailyMail.com.

“That the traditional conservative like Dusty Johnson and you know, the Freedom Caucus leaders like Scott Perry, and the centrists like Don Baker and Brian Fitzpatrick, that all these different camps do indeed get along and try to work together — that is a pretty unusual place for House Republicans to be.”

“I think after that difficult first week a lot of people wondered if we would ever get it right.

“There’s a real sense that we function as a team,” Johnson added. “I think you probably don’t have many members trying to spread stories that make other members look like idiots.”

“People underestimate how effective our Republican majority would be in the House,” Stefanik told DailyMail.com, noting that Biden signed the Republican bill on Tuesday to unravel criminal justice reform in Washington, DC.

Speaker praises new dichotomy about China

The speaker praised the universal agreement on suppressing competition in China, saying that he and Jeffries had been on the China subcommittee and instructed them to work across the aisle.

“This is not a place where there will be duality.”

McCarthy then slammed President Biden for what he described as allowing China to tighten its grip on other parts of the world.

Biden has brought China to the Middle East, where they are now brokering a deal between Saudi Arabia and Iran. That used to be America. That used to happen in Camp David.’

“So the world scares me where it is and why do they think they can do this? Because there was a void of leadership, of strength, of questioning America’s commitment or whether they can trust us,” McCarthy added. “In an underlying place of all that is America’s energy policy.”

Republicans not shying away from a fight on the brink of unprecedented default

Republicans also stressed that they will not blink with debt ceiling negotiations. They say that without cuts, the borrowing limit will not exceed $31.4 trillion.

Biden urges Congress to agree to increase the loan limit without conditions. McCarthy has said his party will not allow new loans without spending cuts.

“You have a president who is unwilling and wants a clean debt ceiling increase, that’s never going to happen,” Stefanik told DailyMail.com.

“I think a lot of Americans assume things are as bad as they’ve always been. The reality is they are much worse,” Johnson said, noting that the US is expected to pay $10 trillion in interest over the next decade.

“In the next decade it will get much, much worse.”

McCarthy, who blamed the inflation that prompted the Fed to raise interest rates for the Silicon Valley Bank crisis, said the bank rescue should “shake everyone up” about the debt ceiling.

Biden released his $6.8 trillion budget plan earlier this month — the Republicans have yet to release their own plan, which is supposedly due in April. Biden has said he will not sit down with McCarthy to negotiate a debt ceiling deal until the GOP’s FY 2024 budget runs out.

R-Texas budget chair Jodey Arrington said members had a two-hour “engaged and passionate discussion about how we could rein in this seemingly out-of-control spending, this never-ending hole in our spending and revenues and our national debt.” .

Ways and Means chairman Jason Smith called it a “family conversation.”

“We’ve made it a point that we’re going to legislate in this conference, it’s 222. And that’s how we’re going to act — whether it’s the budget or the debt limit.”