Donald Trump to address GOP House, Senate members at retreat

Donald Trump at White House

President Donald Trump is making his first appearance before Republican House and Senate members since taking office to coordinate on a shared agenda during the lawmakers’ annual policy retreat.

Trump’s midday remarks Thursday in Philadelphia come a day after he began overhauling the nation’s immigration system. Trump moved to jumpstart construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall. He also ordered cuts Wednesday in federal grants for “sanctuary cities” that shield some immigrants from law enforcement, along with increases in the number of border patrol agents and immigration officers.

After returning to the White House, Trump planned to sign an executive action commissioning a probe into allegations of widespread voter fraud, said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Trump planned additional actions on Friday, but Spicer said Thursday that decisions were still to be made on what Trump will sign.

The president is also expected to take steps, possibly as soon as this week, to restrict the flow of refugees into the United States. He is also considering plans to negotiate individual trade deals with the countries that have signed onto the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. Trump took steps earlier in the week to withdraw the U.S. from TPP, which he said puts American workers at a disadvantage.

The White House had said Trump would also meet Thursday afternoon with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas. But Hatch’s office said no meeting was scheduled and that the senator, who is chairman of the finance committee, and Trump met at the White House on Wednesday.

“On Wednesday evening, Chairman Hatch had a productive meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office to discuss issues of the day, including those that impact the Senate Finance Committee,” Hatch’s office said. “During the hour-long meeting, the chairman outlined his ideas on how best to advance an aggressive pro-growth agenda that will grow the economy and provide fertile ground for new businesses and better jobs in America.”

Getting to Philadelphia meant that Trump took his first flight aboard Air Force One. Trump flew to Washington for the inauguration on one of the U.S. government’s familiar blue and white planes. But the aircraft only uses the call sign “Air Force One” when the president is on board.

He also flew in the presidential helicopter, Marine One, to Joint Base Andrews, where the airplane is parked.

Trump saluted as he walked off the helicopter and chatted with an Air Force officer who walked him to the steps of Air Force One. He walked up the steps slowly but did not turn around and wave as presidents typically do.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.