Trump rallies Republicans in return to Capitol Hill; Georgians like message

WASHINGTON — Two weeks away from a debate in Atlanta with President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump met Thursday with Republicans on Capitol Hill, urging them to stay unified in their bid to win back the White House and both houses of Congress in this year’s elections.

“The message overall was we’ve got to win in November,” said U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, R-St. Simons. “He talked about politics, and he talked about winning.”

As lawmakers emerged from the gathering, held a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol at the headquarters of the Republican National Committee, Georgia Republicans cast the meeting with Trump as part pep rally and part unity meeting.

“People are determined to win,” said U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, who joined his colleagues in eagerly recounting the main message from Trump. “America is in a bad spot and it’s headed in the wrong direction.”

Republicans said Trump rattled off a familiar list of important issues for the GOP to rally behind on the campaign trail in order to send a unified message to voters still on the fence for November.

“It was very policy centric,” said U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville. “He talked about a lot of things: taxes, cutting taxes on tips, border security — the core Republican policies.”

One item that Trump mentioned — tougher tariffs on imports from China and other nations — wasn’t fully embraced by all Republicans.

“He did say he loves tariffs,” said U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, who noted concerns that a trade war with China could harm American farm interests and exports.

“I’m worried about any of the things that hurt our farmers,” Scott added.

But any worries about what Trump might do in a second term on trade are easily blotted out by the desire of Scott — and other GOP lawmakers in Congress — to put the Republicans back in charge of the White House.

“Trump’s the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow,” Scott said. “Making sure that we maintain the House and the Senate so that we can do the things that have to be done on both the border and the economy.”