ORLANDO, Fla. — Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Jim Banks , R-3rd, someone who was first elected in 2016 alongside President Donald Trump and has since risen to lead the largest organization of conservative lawmakers in Congress, told Breitbart News in a lengthy exclusive interview that he intends to help flesh out the Trump agenda after the former president’s exit from office and to use that to help push the GOP further in the right direction.
When Republicans are focused on policy, and not personality, Banks said, they win. And Banks wants to lead the GOP’s efforts to frame a new agenda designed to take all the good parts of Trump’s policies and “marry” them with the good parts of the traditional conservative movement. Banks, who will host a panel with House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy here at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday, is setting out to throw his weight around the RSC to push the party in a much more populist direction, following Trump’s lead on issues like immigration, China, and trade policy.
“After the outcome of the last election and the unique environment we find ourselves in in the minority in the House, and in the minority in the Senate, and with a Democrat in the White House, some people are calling this the ‘post-Trump era.’ What I’m trying to do with the Republican Study Committee is build a new conservative agenda,” Banks said in a phone interview last Friday. “What do I mean by that? A consensus conservative agenda that Republicans can rally around to refocus us again on the issues. At the same [time], we have to recognize we are at a new moment in American politics where the traditional conservative platform of the Republican Party is shifting. It’s changing. So it’s a recognition of the moment that the traditional Reagan-era platform of the Republican Party has to adapt to what we’ve learned in the Trump era. What do I mean by that? Well, the Republican Study Committee, which is the largest conservative caucus overall on Capitol Hill—there are 150 of us that make up more than three fourths of the Republican conference–we’re the heartbeat of the Republican conference on Capitol Hill and we’re the organization that for 47 years has been at the forefront of crafting the agenda.”
Banks continued by noting that Republicans would be foolish to dismiss Trump and what he did for the working class in this country — and what Trump did for the GOP. He is trying to bring Trump’s ideas and victories to the party as a whole, and use the RSC as an engine to drive that agenda forward.
“It’s important we learn the lessons that President Trump taught us so we can expand our agenda to attract non-traditional Republican voters and making the Republican Party permanently the party of the working class, which for most of my life we were not. Trump taught us how to appeal to working class voters,” Banks said. “I think he…