Donald Trump Delivers Rambling 'Pep Talk' To Republicans On Capitol Hill

The former president riffed on Taylor Swift, a hypothetical love affair with Nancy Pelosi and the supposedly “horrible” city of Milwaukee.
Donald Trump departs after delivering remarks at a House Republicans Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on June 13, 2024
Donald Trump departs after delivering remarks at a House Republicans Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on June 13, 2024
Nathan Howard via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Former US President Donald Trump gave House Republicans a rambling “pep talk” on Thursday in his first visit to Capitol Hill since a mob of his supporters attacked Congress on January 6, 2021.

Lawmakers told HuffPost Trump didn’t bring up the insurrection, but sources told other outlets he did mention Taylor Swift, the missed opportunity for a romantic relationship with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat, California), and Representative Steve Scalise (Republican, Louisiana) being supported by his wife.

The official readout from House Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican, Louisiana) was that Trump told Republicans they were doing a very good job, and they clapped for him.

“He said very complimentary things about all of us. We had sustained applause,” Johnson said. “He said I’m doing a very good job. We’re grateful for that.”

Republicans have poured resources into their so-far-unsuccessful efforts to impeach President Joe Biden and to investigate the supposed “weaponisation” of the Justice Department against Trump, who faces felony charges for hoarding classified documents and trying to steal the 2020 election.

One thing Trump didn’t do much of during his Capitol Hill visit was discuss a governing agenda if he wins the White House and Republicans control Congress next year.

“I didn’t hear any policy talk,” Rep. Mark Amodei (Republican, Nevada) told HuffPost as he left the meeting. “It was a pep talk.”

In other words, the former president delivered the same kind of stream-of-consciousness remarks that he uses at his rallies.

Sources told the nonprofit news outlet NOTUS that Trump rambled like a “drunk uncle” and that he said one of Pelosi’s daughters told him that he and Pelosi could have been a couple.

“If things were different, Nancy and I would be perfect together,” Trump said, before noting their six-year “age difference.”

Pelosi’s daughter, Christine Pelosi, quickly responded that Trump was lying and “unwell, unhinged and unfit” for office.

Trump also reportedly spoke about visiting Scalise in the hospital after he’d been severely wounded in a 2017 mass shooting.

“Steve shows great courage,” Trump said, according to CNN’s Melanie Zanona. “I saw him in the hospital. I can tell your wife really loves you, Steve, because some wives wouldn’t care.”

The former president even got in a dig at Milwaukee, the city where next month’s Republican National Convention will formally make him the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

“Milwaukee, where we are having our convention, is a horrible city,” Trump said, per Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman.

(Several Republicans disputed the quote; Wisconsin Representative Derrick Van Orden insisted Trump was only referring to the crime in Milwaukee, not the city itself.)

And Trump reportedly bragged about chasing his haters out of the party, such as former Reps. Liz Cheney (Republican, Wyoming) and Adam Kinzinger (Republican, Illinois). Of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for starting the riot at the Capitol in 2021, only Representatives David Valadao (Republican, California) and Dan Newhouse (Republican, Washington) remain.

“He didn’t mention me at all,” Newhouse told HuffPost as he left the meeting. “So that was good.”

In the afternoon, Trump met with Republican senators on the other side of the Capitol. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican, Kentucky), previously one of Trump’s fiercest critics among elected Republicans, shook Trump’s hand and sat beside him during the meeting.

Senator Josh Hawley (Republican, Missouri) said Trump was gracious and did not take any shots at Senate Republicans.

“There were no barbs, no little asides,” Hawley told reporters. “It was slightly surreal.”


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