politics

Trump: ‘I Guess’ I Needed GOP Leaders to Win Presidency

  • President speaks at Republican retreat in West Virginia
  • Has previously clashed with party’s congressional leaders
Trump Pushes Immigration Bill at GOP Retreat

President Donald Trump isn’t sure whether he needed the help of Republican party leaders to win the presidency.

In a speech to congressional Republicans at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on Thursday, Trump recognized the party’s leadership and then riffed on his election.

“Without them, I could have never won the presidency, I guess,” Trump said. “I don’t know. Could I have won the presidency without them?”

“Steve, yes,” he said, referring to Representative Steve Scalise, who was gravely injured in a shooting at practice for the congressional baseball game last year. “Right? I don’t know.”

Trump’s relationship with his own party’s leaders is famously up-and-down. He has periodically clashed with both House Speaker Paul Ryan, who publicly distanced himself from Trump after the “Access Hollywood” scandal preceding his election, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom Trump blamed for the failure to repeal Obamacare.

The relationship appeared to improve after Republicans passed a tax overhaul last year that Trump signed into law, his signature domestic accomplishment.

“They have become very good friends, and we are now in battle together and in friendship together,” Trump said in his speech.

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