GOP frontrunner Donald Trump explained why he held a meeting in Washington, D.C. with members of Congress, lobbyists, and political operatives on Monday.
“Just to start getting together with some of the people that I’ve known over the years, politicians in just about all cases,” he said during his press conference at the Old Post Office, which is being renovated into Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
“They were senators or congressmen, [and president of the Heritage Foundation] Jim DeMint was there, who I have great respect for,” Trump told the press conference.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) reportedly did not know about the meeting.
Trump was asked if that was intentional. Trump said he’s “very inclusive,” and it wasn’t intentional for McConnell and Ryan not to be there.
Politico reports, “The handful of lawmakers who did attend – including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) – were mainly those who had already endorsed Trump or voted for him in a primary, although Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who also attended, is neutral in the race.”
Former GOP presidential candidate and Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was reportedly also in attendance.
Trump said the meeting was a “very good one,” with some of the “most respected people in Washington.”