The No. 2 Republican in the House said after a private meeting last week with former President Donald Trump that the now-Florida resident still cares a lot about America.
“He still cares a lot about this country and the direction of our country,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) said. “But it was a conversation more about how he’s doing now and what he’s planning on doing and how his family is doing.”
Scalise met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, on Feb. 16, a spokesperson for the congressman previously told The Epoch Times. The spokesperson had declined to provide details on the meeting other than to say the pair had “touched base.”
On Feb. 21, Scalise said he was fundraising in various parts of Florida when Trump reached out.
“I hadn’t seen him since he had left the White House. And it was actually good to catch up with him. I noticed he was a lot more relaxed than his four years in the White House,” he added.
Scalise spoke on ABC’s “This Week.”
The show’s host asked the Louisiana congressman whether he thought Trump should take responsibility for the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Scalise noted that Trump denounced the breach.
“And I think everybody should have been unequivocal in their denouncing of what happened, not only on January 6th but during the summer, when they were burning down cities, shooting cops, beating people in the streets,” he said.
“You saw the left denouncing January 6th, as we did. They didn’t denounce what happened during the summer. So let’s be across the board and say anybody who resorts to violence to settle political disputes, there’s no place for that in America and it should be disputed unequivocally.”
Trump was impeached on Jan. 13 for alleged incitement of insurrection, as a majority of lawmakers in the lower chamber said he incited the Capitol breach; he was acquitted earlier this month by the Senate.
Scalise met with Trump several weeks after the top House Republican, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), had traveled to Mar-a-Lago.
Republican leaders in the Senate, though, have condemned Trump in recent days.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voted to acquit the former president but then took to the Senate floor to blame him for the Capitol breach.
Trump responded in a strongly worded statement saying the GOP won’t win with McConnell at the party’s helm and vowing to support primary candidates he believes will promote his “America first” agenda.