Trump Meets With Former GOP Rival Ted Cruz

This is Trump's second appearance on Capitol Hill in two months.

ByABC News
July 7, 2016, 3:21 PM

— -- Donald Trump met with Sen. Ted Cruz on Capitol Hill on Thursday morning — the first meeting between the two former bitter campaign rivals since Cruz suspended his presidential campaign.

Cruz described the meeting as “positive and productive” and said he accepted Trump’s invitation to speak at the convention.

“I said I’d be very glad to do so,” Cruz told reporters that afternoon.

Cruz, who has withheld throwing his support behind Trump since dropping out of the race, said a possible endorsement was not discussed. Sources said the one time rivals agreed to stop working against each other.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was also at the meeting, as were Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; daughter Ivanka Trump; and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, according to senior sources in the Trump campaign.

The sources said that Donald Trump and Cruz decided to come together to “work on several policy issues they agree on,” specifically judicial nominations.

This was Trump’s second trip to Capitol Hill in two months.

With less than two weeks before the Republican National Convention begins in Cleveland, Trump is looking to shore up support with GOP representatives and senators even as he faces backlash from some members of the party. Trump spoke with Republican members of Congress in two meetings. The House meeting was attended by some 200 representatives. Still, some Republicans facing tough re-election battles declined to meet with Trump this morning, and some plan to skip the convention.

Trump’s social media director tweeted a photo from the meeting with House Republicans.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called the meeting “great.”

“It was an important opportunity for our members to get additional information about Mr. Trump’s campaign and ask questions about the issues that matter to Americans,” he said in a statement. “It’s clear that our party is committed to defeating Hillary Clinton and Democrats this fall.”

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., echoed Ryan’s sentiment, telling ABC News it was an “extremely positive” meeting. “If you didn’t know what had gone on before, you would have thought it was a lovefest,” he said.

King said Ivanka Trump’s star power was evident from the meeting.

“Almost as many people were asking for pictures with Ivanka as with Trump,” King said, joking that maybe she should run for president someday. “She’s going to be something someday for sure if she wants it.”

But some Republicans left the meeting still feeling unsure about Donald Trump.

“I heard nothing new,” Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., said afterward. He has not publicly endorsed Trump and will not attend the GOP convention.

“I’ve been concerned about the incendiary comments and the lack of policy specificity. That’s where I have been. That’s where I continue to be,” he added.

Trump’s meeting with Senate Republicans included some tense moments, particularly with Jeff Flake, who introduced himself to Trump by saying, “I’m the other senator from Arizona — the one that wasn’t captured — and I want to talk to you about statements like that.” Flake was referring to Trump’s comments last year about Arizona Sen. John McCain’s being held captive in the Vietnam War.

“When he attacks the other senator from Arizona, John McCain, and attacks his war record by saying, ‘I don’t respect people who get captured’ ... what an awful, awful thing to say about a war hero, a true war hero,” Flake said.

Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., was surprised Trump didn’t get any tough questions about his rhetoric or campaign. Most members gave him advice and suggested issues on which he should focus.

“It’s awkward,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., told reporters, describing the atmosphere at the meeting he attended. “There is a lack of enthusiasm. You can feel it."

Asked about his outreach to minorities, Trump told Republicans, “Hispanics love me,” according to Dent.

At one meeting Trump defended his comments about Saddam Hussein, accusing the media of misconstruing his comments, according to sources who were in the room.

He also told Republicans he plans to help them be competitive in Connecticut and other states that traditionally vote Democratic in presidential years.

Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer, who attended the House GOP meeting, noted that it was the first opportunity for many members to meet with Trump and that they are making progress toward party unity.

“We’re moving in the right direction every day,” Spicer said. “Bernie Sanders still hasn’t endorsed Hillary Clinton. I like where we are better than where they are.”

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.