Republicans are set to discuss their game plan for the remainder of the year during the GOP retreat in Baltimore as they look to carve out a path back into the majority in 2020, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in an interview with The Hill.
President Trump and Vice President Pence, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are set to address House lawmakers during the three-day event that will kick off Thursday. Other administration officials will also attend.
McCarthy said the retreat provides them with a rare opportunity to “talk policy and politics.”
“We’ll have the president there, [Trump campaign manager] Brad Parscale up there talking about the race going forward for the White House as well,” he said.
“It’s really a good time for members to sit and see where our game plan is on winning the election,” he added. “It’s a good time to have the members give feedback — it’s the new group of conservatives moving forward.”
The California Republican said he expects Trump — who is scheduled to speak Thursday — to “fire up” members, adding he believes the president has room to expand the number of states he can win during the next election, helping the GOP down-ballot.
McCarthy said Trump would talk about “what he wants to still achieve.”
“President Trump is going to get a second term, we’re going to be able to carry out things better than we have in the past,” the Republican leader said.
“And I think he’s going to have more states to play in than the last time,” he said, mentioning Minnesota, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada as states Trump can win.
The retreat comes right after the victory of state Sen. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) in a special House election on Tuesday brought relief to the party.
Nonetheless the GOP faces an uphill battle to regain the House, with neither party managing to flip the majority during a presidential year since 1952.
Republicans lost the House in 2018 largely after doing poorly in suburban districts in states like Virginia and Georgia.
A slew of recent retirement announcements could prove to be an even bigger hurdle for them to overcome in 2020, but McCarthy said the House would benefit from new Republican members.
“Look, if you’ve been in the championship team and you get to the final and you’ve won it a number of years, but you get to the final game and you don’t win, you’ve got to bring in some new blood, some new players,” McCarthy said, adding the last election cycle brought in members he feels strengthen the party.
“I didn’t even know who Dan Crenshaw was and Dan’s become one of my best friends, he is better on social media than any other Republican outside of Trump,” he added, referring to the freshman Texas congressman.
In addition to discussing campaign strategy, McCarthy said they plan to discuss long-term policy plans despite no longer having control of the floor.
McCarthy said the timing of the retreat — which was delayed earlier this year due to a government shutdown — could also be beneficial since they have a better sense of Democratic strategy than they did earlier this year.
“We know they’re going to impeach. We know, policy-wise, different things that they want to bring up,” he said. “We never would have thought they would become this socialist democratic party.”
The California Republican said they are also aiming for this retreat to allow rank-and-file members to have more input because of the addition of a number of break-out sessions, a change from previous years.
Among the subjects they will discuss are Russia and China, as well as “the 21st-century economy” and data privacy, McCarthy said.