- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2019

President Trump told House GOP boosters Tuesday that Republicans are more unified than ever and will retake the chamber after a “spell” in the minority.

“That’s not going to last long. It was just a brief little spell,” he told the National Republican Congressional Committee’s spring dinner in downtown D.C.

“They blame me,” he added. “I said, ‘What the hell do I have to do with it?’”

Democrats gained 41 seats in a mid-term thumping of Mr. Trump’s party in November, elevating Rep. Nancy Pelosi back to the speakership and thwarting Mr. Trump’s agenda.

Many Republican incumbents were hammered over their attacks on Obamacare.

Mr. Trump said the party can’t back away from health care, though, arguing they need to forge a plan that protects people with preexisting conditions and can be voted on right after the 2020 election.

“If we stay away from that subject, we’re gonna lose,” he said.

“We are going to regain the House because of health care and other things,” he added. “It’s going to be our first vote, because we blew it the last time.”

Mr. Trump meandering speech at the National Building Museum was similar to the ones he gives at his trademark rallies, even if the crowd was more subdued.

He said Republican’s fortunes will turn if they stick to his “Make America Great Again” theme, saying it’s probably one of the best taglines ever.

“We’ve sold millions and millions and millions of hats,” he said.

He said the party saw success on tax reform and deregulation, however, and is getting there on a trade deal with China, so they might have to settle on a new message for 2020.

“Let me know, do we say ‘Keep America Great?’” Mr. Trump said, arguing the world is doing poorly but the U.S. is doing just fine.

Mr. Trump urged voters to be wary of Democratic promises, saying they’re pitching “socialist” ideas that might sound appealing but will lead to ruin.

“The country goes to hell. It’s happened many times,” he said.

He slammed progressives’ leading plan to reel in climate change as unworkable, saying: “If they beat me with the Green New Deal, I deserve to lose.”

And he bemoaned the nation’s immigration laws, saying “catch-and-release” is among the “dumbest” policies around because very few people show up for their immigration hearings, and reiterated his complaint that other countries fail to send their finest people.

“We take them in, ‘Congratulations,’” Mr. Trump said.

He said he doesn’t want to close the southern border, citing its effect on the economy, though suggested that security may take precedence.

Focusing on the room before him, Mr. Trump also praised House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

Mr. Scalise was seriously wounded in a June 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball practice and then, on his long road to full strength, fielded a ball one year later in front cheering colleagues at Nationals Park.

“I said is this a movie we’re watching?” Mr. Trump recalled.

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