Former President Donald Trump made his first return to the Washington, D.C, since the Jan. 6 attack on Thursday. The purpose of the visit was morale-boosting, closed-door meetings with House and Senate Republicans — and the lawmakers surprised Trump with some pre-birthday cake.

Utah’s entire congressional delegation from the House and Senate was in attendance to hear from the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election, held near the Capitol.

The descriptions of the meeting from several lawmakers suggest Trump made a serious effort to coalesce members of his party and help Republicans win control over both chambers of Congress. He refrained from bashing those who don’t see eye-to-eye with him and retained a cheerful demeanor.

Rep. Blake Moore said in a statement to the Deseret News, “Today’s conference meeting was focused on unity and how former President Trump wants to help us win a larger majority in the House,” adding, “The tone was very positive with several mentions of last night’s Congressional Baseball Game.”

Moore, the vice chair of the Republican Conference, performed well at the Thursday game, which Republicans won decisively over the Democrats. House members presented Trump with the ball and bat from the latest fundraiser game.

Moore, who represents Utah’s 1st District, said the conversations revolved around fixing the crisis at the southern border and the inflation. Rep. Burgess Owens also reiterated these talking points in a statement to the Deseret News.

“Just as President Trump told our House GOP Conference today, Americans are fed up with the Democrats’ weaponization of the justice system, Joe Biden’s disastrous economy, the invasion at our southern border, and the Left’s obsession with destroying our American values,” said Owens, who represents Utah’s 4th District. “Republicans are united behind President Trump.”

Over the phone Wednesday, Owens said he was excited about the former president’s visit and planned to get to the Capitol meeting early to avoid any long lines.

“He is traveling across the country to bring people together,” said Owens. “He is a uniter and his energy is unbelievable.”

Rep. John Curtis said the meeting was constructive. In addition to the border and the economy, he added “pushing back on China” to the list of commitments Trump made Thursday.

“I am hopeful we can solve these challenges facing our country with a Republican president and Republican majority,” he said in a statement to the Deseret News.

It was Rep. Celeste Maloy’s first time sitting in a congressional meeting with Trump since being elected.

“Sitting in a room with the House Republican Conference, listening to our party’s presidential nominee, was a novel experience for me,” said Maloy, who represents Utah’s 2nd District.

“I appreciate President Trump getting together with us, showing his support for House leadership, and reminding us what we can accomplish if we can stay focused on winning majorities. I’m excited to have him back in the White House next year,” she added.

According to reports, Trump asked one staunch supporter, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., to get along with House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.

“Marjorie, are you being nice to Mike?” Trump asked, the reports said. Greene gestured that she sort of was, which she later confirmed, as per NBC News.

While he showed appreciation for the House leadership, the distance between Trump and House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., was evident. Politico reported that one source recalled Trump offering to hold tele-town halls for House Republicans. This comment appeared like a jab at Good, whose opponent John McGuire is Trump’s pick for the Virginia GOP primary.

Utah Sen. Mike Lee, in a video update on X from the Capitol, talked about the Senate Republicans’ lunch with Trump. He talked “about a wide range of issues, he seemed in good spirits, everybody was happy,” Lee said.

“He’s got a lot of optimism, both for Senate Republicans, House Republicans, for the presidential race, most importantly, love optimism for the country. We need that right now.”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was scheduled to be in Florida during Trump’s visit but stayed back in Washington, D.C., because of flight cancellations due to rain. Romney was one of Trump’s critics while he was in office. He recently told the Deseret News Trump will not be receiving his vote.

Sen. Mitt Romney says his views are tiny ‘chicken wing’ of GOP

Romney told reporters he didn’t plan to chime in at the meeting and mostly would listen. “He may have something to say to me but I doubt that, too.” But he said he was curious to hear from his colleagues who were on Trump’s shortlist for the vice president spot on the ticket.

Asked if his pick for VP was in the room with him, Trump told a Fox News reporter, “Probably. Yeah. Probably. I don’t want to go, but I think will probably get announced during the convention.” The Republican National Convention is scheduled for July 15-18.

To celebrate Trump’s birthday, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., brought a cake with candles that said “45″ and “47,” a gesture of hope for a second presidential term.

“Let me make a wish. I can’t say what the wish is. But it will have something to do with this room,” Trump said before pausing for a moment and then blowing out the candles. His birthday is June 14 and he is turning 78. House Republicans also sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.