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Tamar Hallerman

Georgia GOP lawmakers line up behind Donald Trump after first meeting

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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump departs a meeting with Republican House members at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump departs a meeting with Republican House members at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON — Most Republican members of Georgia’s congressional delegation huddled with Donald Trump for the first time this morning, and many offered rosy views of the presumptive nominee after emerging from the confab.

The goal of the roughly hour-long meeting, held near the GOP’s campaign headquarters just a stone’s throw from the U.S. Capitol, was to build bridges with members of the party in the lead up to the Republican convention. More than 200 Housed lawmakers were reportedly in attendance, as was Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus:

Evans Republican Rick Allen said Trump’s appearance got the job done — lawmakers were fired up and unified.

“Life is all about relationships and the thing that was important about this meeting was building that relationship” with Congress, said Allen. “There was a lot of great interaction and it was very positive.”

Trump mainly played it safe in his remarks to lawmakers in order to solidify those bonds. He discussing unifying ideas such as repealing Obamacare, paring back federal regulations and redefining the roles of the different branches of government, according to the Georgia lawmakers in attendance.

“I think most Republicans are on board,” said Cassville Republican Barry Loudermilk. “He is coming out with a strong vision for America that lines up with our vision. He is adopting the plans and policies that we have going forward so I think it has really formulated more into a team effort.”

Austin Scott, R-Tifton, who is particularly incensed about how the 2010 healthcare overhaul exempted the health insurance industry from anti-trust laws, said he asked Trump about Obamacare.

“Absolutely I’m satisfied with the response that he gave us” of repealing and replacing the law, said Scott.

The meeting didn’t win over every lawmaker, as other reports indicate. But many rank-and-file Republicans, particularly those from Georgia, seemed on board.

Matt Laslo, a freelance D.C. reporter, perhaps summed it up best:

The scene outside the meeting didn’t draw the same colorful protests that Trump’s May visit did, but lawmakers were still met with dozens of reporters, television cameras and curious onlookers on this stiflingly humid day. There were a few protesters here and there holding signs that read “Outsourcer in chief” and “Trump: ‘Job creator’ in Mexico, China, India and Singapore.”

To paint a picture of the scene:

Trump was quickly shuttled across Capitol Hill to meet with a much smaller group of Senate Republicans. We’re told both David Perdue and Johnny Isakson were planning to attend.

As for the biggest subject of the day, Trump did not broach who he would pick as a running mate, according to the Georgia lawmakers in attendance. But unsurprisingly several Peach State lawmakers said they’d be enthusiastic if he picked home state lawmaker Newt Gingrich.

“I guarantee you Newt would be great. I’m ready for another contract with America,” said Allen. “Look at the economy then, look at the job growth then. We balanced the budget. Boy, if we could get that done — I think that’s what the American people want.”

Also spotted at the scene was 3rd Congressional District candidate Drew Ferguson. The Republican and former West Point mayor didn’t attend the Trump event, but he happened to be in the area for campaign meetings.

“We just had our meeting with Trump,” Ferguson joked. “Got a clear view of the VP list but we are no longer being considered.”