Donald Trump got mixed reviews after his standing-room-only meeting with House Republicans Thursday, using the gathering to blast the media, call for unity, and answer questions, The Hill reports.
Trump, accompanied by his daughter Ivanka, and campaign manager, Paul Manafort, arrived about 20 minutes late, but got two standing ovations from the crowd of 200 lawmakers, one on arrival and later when CNBC's Larry Kudlow introduced him, The Hill reports.
He was set to meet with Senate Republicans after the session.
According to The Hill, which cited unnamed sources, Trump used part of his speech to blast the "disingenuous" media for reporting that he praised former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein at a rally this week.
"I said, 'Hussein was a very, very bad man, but the one thing he did very well was kill terrorists,'" Trump told the closed-door meeting of House Republicans at the Capitol Hill Club.
"The next day a wake up to headlines that say 'Trump praises Hussein.' The media is totally disingenuous."
He also boasted that he raised more than $50 million last quarter, praised Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, touched on the Second Amendment, building a strong military, securing the border and about the need to win the White House so conservatives don't lose the Supreme Court, sources tell The Hill.
Trump then fielded questions for 40 minutes from about 20 members, GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said, The Hill reports.
House GOP Policy Committee Director Luke Messer gave Trump a thumbs-up on his presentation.
"Frankly he was very impressive," the Indiana Republican said. "My hope is that moving forward... the public Trump starts to look more like the private Trump. If that happens, he can win."
"It was a great unifying speech," added Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Price. "He shared his perspective, and folks were very receptive."
Others remained skeptical.
"It was, I guess, typical Donald Trump," Illlinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger tells The Hill. "There's a lack of enthusiasm, you can feel it. ... I don't begrudge anybody that supports him, I'm just — personally, as an American — I have a hard time getting there."
Added GOP Virginia Rep. Scott Rigell: "Nothing he said changes the view that I've expressed from the beginning that I think he lacks the temperament and the judgment and the character to be, particularly, commander in chief."
"I'm greatly disappointed that this is the choice before us," he said.
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