At House GOP Retreat, Lawmakers Focus on China, Parents’ Rights, Energy as Possible Trump Arrest Looms

John Haughey
By John Haughey
March 22, 2023US News

ORLANDO, Fla.—The 500-acre Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes, with its 580-plus luxury rooms, Greg Norman-designed golf course, and waterpark, is figuratively if not geographically a million miles away from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach or New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s Manhattan office.

With events in both locations dominating the news, more than 150 House Republicans planning legislative strategies—and getting a leadership pep talk from NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees—are trying to ignore the noise and deal primarily with three policy areas, said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

GOP lawmakers have diligently focused on China, parents’ rights in education, and energy policy, during the retreat’s “issues conference,” he told reporters on March 21, with little attention being paid in strategy sessions to the pending potential indictment and arraignment in New York of former President Donald Trump.

In fact, McCarthy said, the only time he hears about it is when he speaks with media covering the three-day retreat at the sprawling resort, which ends March 21.

“We’re not talking about [Trump] in the issues conference, you’re just asking about it,” he told reporters during a last-day briefing.

Nevertheless, since reporters are asking—and have been all conference long—McCarthy said from what he can see and tell, Americans “are tired” of political game-playing and even those who may not like the former president feel something is wrong with the whole scenario.

“I do get concerned when I look out there and see justice not being equal,” he said. “We have a local DA playing politics—it starts right there.”

Americans can sense how unfair it is for Trump to be targeted for something he allegedly did with his own money more than seven years ago. He said even The Washington Post has called the charges and the timing “unusual” since other state and federal district attorney offices opted not to levy the formal charges that Bragg seeks to do.

This “unequal justice” is especially evident when compared with how the Federal Election Commission fined the Democratic National Committee $105,000 and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign less than $8,000 over misreporting of spending related to the Steele dossier, which launched two years of costly and fruitless federal investigations into Trump and his alleged links to Russia.

“A million dollars they spent” perpetuating false claims about Trump and “they didn’t get prosecuted,” McCarthy said, adding that is something rank-and-file Americans are seeing and not happy about.

Stefanik: Trump Flags ‘Everywhere’

The day before, McCarthy in various media encounters and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), in a “fireside chat” with Punchbowl News founder Jake Sherman, were pigeonholed about what they thought about the former president’s potential pending arrest.

“I see it the way the rest of America sees it—it’s a political play,” McCarthy said.

Stefanik, who said she spoke with Trump early on March 20, called Bragg’s actions the “epitomization of the weaponization” of using federal agencies against political enemies.

The “Russia hoax,” the “fake FISA applications,” and this—“yet another example of [Democrats] going after Republicans—prominent Republicans” for political gain, she said.

Bragg is “the most radical DA you can ultimately get to. George Soros funded him over a million dollars,” Stefanik said.

At the same time he is targeting Trump, Bragg is lowering punishments for felonies and misdemeanors and that, she said, is “one of the reasons why crime is soaring in New York City.”

Stefanik said she expects Bragg will be called to testify before congressional committees to justify his actions—although it is unlikely he will appear.

“Even The Washington Post has pointed out this is a zombie case,” she said.

His potential prosecution in New York will only help Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, Stefanik said.

Trump “has never been in a stronger position on terms of rallying” supporters and Republicans, even those who may not like him, she said.

“I think it is a unifying message. People can see that fundamental equal justice under the law is slipping away, Stefanik said, adding that she finds things “eerily similar to 2016” with voters, again seeing that Congress is “fundamentally out of touch” with American outside the beltway.

In her upstate New York district as well as around the country, including in the Central Florida neighborhoods around the Ritz Carlton, Stefanik said Trump flags are flying in defiance of a local DA playing politics with a presidential campaign.

“You see those flags everywhere,” she said, “and there are more going up in the last few days.”

From The Epoch Times

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