A meeting on Thursday between former President Trump and the most powerful Republican in the House is widely seen as a sign of Trump's continued clout within the GOP. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, and a report at CNN casts it as an attempt by McCarthy "to get back into the good graces of the former president." That meshes with a report in the New York Times that Trump has been seething about McCarthy since he declared on the House floor that the former president "bears responsibility" for the attack on the Capitol. However, since making that statement, McCarthy has backtracked, saying that he doesn't think Trump "provoked" the crowd, “if you listen to what he said at the rally," per the Hill.
The Times' Maggie Haberman sees the Mar-a-Lago meeting as part of "mounting evidence that most Republicans—far from repudiating Mr. Trump, as it appeared they might after the deadly siege—have rallied strongly around him before his impeachment trial." An assessment at the Washington Post comes to a similar conclusion in regard to GOP sentiment toward the former president, noting that Trump loyalists in Congress are being rewarded with committee assignments. All of this comes in the wake of a vote in the Senate earlier this week showing that Trump almost certainly will not be convicted in the upcoming impeachment trial. Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine already is working on a possible alternative—a measure to censure Trump, per Axios. As of Thursday, however, top Democrats planned on proceeding with the impeachment trial on Feb. 9. (Read more Trump impeachment stories.)