Republican retreat

Trump vows to campaign for more House Republicans after North Carolina wins
President delivers one-hour speech to congressional GOP at their retreat in Baltimore

President Donald Trump speaks to House Republicans in Baltimore on Thursday at their annual retreat. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

BALTIMORE — President Donald Trump told House Republicans gathered here Thursday for their annual conference retreat that he plans to campaign in more of their districts to help with their 2020 races. 

“I’m going to stop at every community that I can. We’re going to make a list of 50 or so,” he said. 

House Republicans to discuss path back to majority at Baltimore retreat
GOP members to talk politics and policy Thursday through Saturday at their delayed annual retreat

Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks, the House Republicans’ campaign recruitment chair, said she’s excited to discuss politics at the GOP retreat in Baltimore that starts Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fresh off two crucial special election wins in North Carolina, House Republicans head to Baltimore on Thursday for their delayed annual retreat, prepared to spend some quality time discussing how they plan to win back the majority in 2020.

Some of that planning will most certainly involve policy discussions about contrasting their proposals on jobs and the economy, health care, technology, energy and the environment, and other issues with what they often refer to as the Democrats’ “socialist” ideas. But a good chunk of the gathering, which will run from Thursday afternoon through Saturday morning, will be about assessing the political landscape. 

House Democrats to hold listening sessions to plan agenda for mid-February retreat
Location for annual caucus retreat still being finalized but dates set for Feb. 13-15

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said the caucus will soon start holding listening sessions to plan an agenda for its annual retreat in mid-February. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats will soon start holding listening sessions to plan the agenda for their annual caucus retreat next month, their first in the majority since 2010, Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries told Roll Call. 

Jeffries of New York and Caucus Vice Chairwoman Katherine Clark of Massachusetts both said the retreat is scheduled for Feb. 13-15 but they have yet to finalize the location. 

Tony Blair Delivers 'Churchillian' Speech to Senate, House GOP

Blair testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2009. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair drew three standing ovations when he addressed the joint House-Senate Republican retreat Thursday with a speech that one lawmaker likened to the oratory of Winston Churchill.  

Blair's speech, which was closed to the public and the media, included a call for America to lead on the world stage rather than to try to be loved there, according to a person in attendance. Rep. Tom Cole said Blair focused on the importance of fighting against extremism around the world at an event said to be well attended by members and staffers alike. "Tony Blair just gave one of the most masterful presentations on the spread of Islamic terrorism," the Oklahoma Republican said, calling it "Churchillian."  

Rand Paul Skipping Joint Republican Retreat

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

At least one of the Senate's 2016 contenders is bailing on the big House-Senate Republican conference gathering next week in Hershey, Pa.  

An aide to Sen. Rand Paul confirmed the Kentucky Republican would not attend the retreat — the first joint gathering of the majorities on both sides of the Rotunda.