PHILADELPHIA—President Trump on Thursday made his first direct pitch to the Republican lawmakers he’ll need to pass his agenda, drawing applause for his commitments to conservative policies and silence for his impassioned appeal for a major new infrastructure program.
“This Congress is going to be the busiest Congress we’ve had in decades, maybe ever,” the president told congressional Republicans at their annual policy retreat, which was held at a downtown hotel as protesters denounced Trump on the streets outside.
Trump broke little new ground in a 25-minute speech in which he sought to align himself with the aggressive agenda party leaders laid out for their members a day before. He touted the executive orders he had already signed, drawing large applause for his crackdown on immigration and for reinstating a ban on foreign aid going to organizations that perform or promote abortion. He reiterated his commitment to repealing and replacing Obamacare, musing that while it might be politically preferable for Republicans to let the law languish on its own, “we don't want to do that. We need to get something done right.” Trump backed Republican efforts to reform the tax code, saying the GOP needed to embrace its heritage as “the party of American industry and the American worker.”