Congressional Republicans plan to hold a retreat this fall in Baltimore — after Republican President Donald Trump denigrated the city as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” and a “very dangerous & filthy place.”
GOP members of the U.S. House of Representatives will gather Sept. 12-14 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Harbor East.
The event raises the prospect of Trump making his first visit to the city as president, because the sitting president often addresses the gathering. It’s often held in Baltimore or West Virginia, but the members of Congress also have met on the Eastern Shore and in Philadelphia.
Ali Pardo, a spokeswoman with the House Republican Conference, said Baltimore was selected earlier this year for the retreat.
“We’re excited to be there in September to discuss our agenda,” she said.
She declined to discuss further details, including whether the president is expected to attend.
The White House would not comment on the president’s schedule.
Officials with the nonprofit Congressional Institute, which co-hosts the conference, did not respond to requests for information. However, a private communications firm hired by the Congressional Institute sent a registration form Monday afternoon for journalists planning to cover it.
Trump had harsh words for the city in a series of tweets that began July 27, and his criticism continued for several days both online and in remarks to reporters and at a rally. Trump also blasted Democratic U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings of West Baltimore, whose House Committee on Oversight and Reform has been investigating the president, his family and his administration.
Cummings has said he would be “happy” to have Trump visit Baltimore. The Marriott hotel is just outside Cummings’ district.
The Marriott’s general manager declined to discuss the retreat, saying doing so would violate the company’s policies aimed at preserving guests’ privacy.
Trump has visited Baltimore sparingly, attending the Army-Navy football game at M&T Bank Stadium shortly after he won the 2016 election. A few months before that, candidate Trump spoke to the National Guard Association of the United States, which held a conference downtown. He then popped over to Dundalk in Baltimore County for lunch at a diner with local politicians and supporters.
More recently, the president considered visiting Baltimore last December to discuss urban revitalization at the invitation of the Rev. Donte Hickman, but the event was called off.
The 2019 House Republican retreat was scheduled originally for late January in West Virginia, but it was postponed due to a partial federal government shutdown at the time.
Trump spoke at the 2018 retreat, which featured House and Senate members and was held at The Greenbrier, a resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. That retreat opened on a somber note, after an Amtrak train carrying members of Congress to the retreat collided with a garbage truck, killing a Virginia man.
Trump also spoke at the 2017 Republican retreat in Philadelphia.
House Republicans have held retreats in Baltimore before, including in 2010, when Democratic President Barack Obama addressed the gathering. The Republicans also gathered in Baltimore in 2011, 2012 and 2016. Typically, the events are held in late January or early February.
Baltimore offers Washington politicians a chance to get away from the inside-the-Beltway political world — without having to travel too far. Baltimore is a quick drive or train trip from Washington.