President Donald J. Trump will meet with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill for the first time since his inauguration on Tuesday.
The gathering will take place during the caucus’s weekly policy lunch. There are a few things to look for as the president tries to rally his party to come together.
1. Will anyone not show up? When Trump last attended the meeting as a candidate, some Republicans skipped the meeting. Senator Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters earlier this year that he would avoid going to the White House because of his panel’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
2. Will Trump be along with Corker and McCain? A nasty war of words between Trump and Corker took hold of the news headlines recently as the two slammed each other on social media. Meanwhile, John McCain and Trump continue to share a cold relationship, made worse when the Arizona Republican voted against the skinny bill to repeal Obamacare.
3. Does Trump rip into a do-nothing Senate body? Trump has slammed the Senate time and again for getting nothing done, and forcing him to sit with Democrats on issues such as immigration and health care.
The last time Trump met with the caucus, in 2016, it didn’t go so well. The meeting, which was arranged to try to get Republicans and the then-candidate on the same page, went off the rails when the president got into a verbal spat with GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and criticized GOP Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) and former Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).
4. Can Republicans come together on tax reform? The GOP is hungry for a legislative win. Senator Ted Cruz recently warned that the GOP will be destroyed in 2018 by the Democrats if they do not pass tax reform and health care. Trump has been traveling the country pushing for tax reform. It’s soon to be now or never to pass a big bill.
5. Does Trump go off message and spend time speaking about Uranium One and fake news? It’s the president’s responsibility to use his big microphone to keep the GOP focused on advancing his agenda. But he tends to get off message, and with such a large audience, he could bite the bait and spend his time speaking about Hillary Clinton and Russia.
6. How does the press cover the meeting? Positive, negative, or do they just ignore it all and stay focused on the president’s phone call with the Gold Star widow of Sgt. Johnson?