Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump didn’t meet with lawmakers who have endorsed him during his visit to Washington, D.C. on Thursday.
“I think it would have been good of him” to have a meeting with “the first endorsers,” Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) tells Politico. “There is no reason not to have as many people on your side as you can … and he missed a real opportunity here.”
Trump spent several hours in Washington, D.C. on Thursday morning, first meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, then meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and GOP leadership on Capitol Hill.
“His most ardent congressional backers, however, asked his campaign several times for a few minutes with the candidate, too,” Politico reports. “They thought it would energize the team running traps to whip support for him in Washington. They also wanted Trump to meet with a core group of committee chairs they thought would make for powerful future allies.”
“If they endorse him, then go back to their districts to say they’ve met him and he’s not crazy, it goes a long way,” Hunter explained. “It helps if you can say, ‘I met the guy’ … and can be beneficial for Trump, too.”
A Republican lawmaker’s staffer spoke anonymously to Politico, countering Duncan’s criticism.
“These concerns about access are overblown. The early endorsers have had a number of opportunities to meet and talk with Donald Trump. Today’s meetings with Speaker Ryan and the House Leadership are direct outgrowth of those discussions,” the aide told Politico. “It is expected that Mr. Trump will be in Washington a great deal in the weeks ahead, providing new opportunities for members to continue their dialogue.”