President Trump will speak today at a GOP retreat in West Virginia. That retreat is where lawmakers were headed yesterday when the train they were on collided with a truck. One man in the truck was killed, six others were injured.
None of those on the train was seriously hurt. As investigators continue to look into how and why it happened, Republicans will begin to plan out their strategy for the new year.
After a moment of silence, the Republican policy retreat in West Virginia went on as scheduled last night. It’s the same retreat many GOP members of Congress were traveling to yesterday when their train struck a garbage truck in Crozet, Virginia…killing a man inside the vehicle. He’s been identified as 28-year-old Christopher Foley.
“All of sudden we heard obviously a loud crash and felt an impact. Everybody around us got thrown,” said Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
Shortly after the collision, members of Congress with medical training jumped off the train to help paramedics. Senator Bill Cassidy, a doctor, was one of them. He says, for him, the decision to proceed with the conference was, if anything, solidified after spending the afternoon helping to save lives.
“If we’re speaking about defense or foreign affairs, it might be saving our GIs and our Marines and our sailors lives,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA).
Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the conference by recounting GOP successes — much as the president did here a night earlier, in the State of the Union.
He also, though, acknowledged the potentially tough task ahead of keeping the majority in the House and Senate.
“Conventional wisdom holds that the upcoming midterms are going to be a challenge but I think you all know what president Trumps thinks about conventional wisdom.”
The Vice President also urged all in attendance to use stock market growth and tax cuts as selling points when helping GOP hopefuls.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Boarding looking into the train crash say they are planning to locate and analyze the event recorders from both the train and the truck. They’re also still trying to determine why the truck was on the tracks.
(Hena Doba, CBS News)