WILKES-BARRE —U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta left his daughter’s — and new grandson’s — hospital bedside Wednesday to attend a high-level national security meeting at Trump Tower in New York City.
Barletta, R-Hazleton, was invited to participate in a national security roundtable with Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump to discuss strategies for defeating radical Islamic terrorism and keeping America safe.
“Donald Trump today reinforced that ensuring the safety of the American people will be his administration’s top priority and that he has a plan to bolster our national security,” Barletta said. “We discussed ways to improve communication between federal and local law enforcement so that we can better detect terrorist activity, stop the flow of refugees into our country until we can be certain they do not pose a threat to American lives, and crack down on illegal immigration, including our faulty visa system.”
Barletta said throughout the meeting, Trump was thoughtful, deliberative and interested in the opinions of those in attendance.
Barletta said the others at the meeting included retired Army Lt. Gen. Joseph “Keith” Kellogg, retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming Township), Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York, former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee; and U.S. Rep. Mike McCall of Texas, the current chairman of Homeland Security.
Also in the meeting were Trump’s top campaign staffers, including recently announced campaign CEO Stephen Bannon, chairman of Breitbart News, and campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
Barletta’s youngest daughter, Grace, had given birth to a baby boy, Christopher, the representative’s fourth grandchild.
“It was a pretty hectic day,” Barletta said Thursday. “I went from the hospital to New York City, back to the hospital.”
Barletta said he received the invite from the trump campaign Tuesday evening to attend the high-level meeting Wednesday in Manhattan. He was told Trump wanted to gather his top advisers to discuss how to win the war against radical Islamic terrorism.
“There’s no doubt that Donald Trump is focused on keeping America safe,” Barletta said. “This was a very serious meeting with Trump’s high-level advisers.”
Barletta said he was impressed with how Trump ran the meeting — saying it was a glimpse at Donald Trump the executive and how he runs his businesses.
“He was very focused, attentive, deliberate — he listened very attentively,” Barletta said. “Trump wanted to hear the opinions of everyone in the room and everyone participated and played a role.
“He really wanted to hear what everyone had to offer,” Barletta added. “It was the boardroom Donald Trump that we saw Wednesday.”
Barletta and Marino were among the first members of Congress to endorse Trump’s candidacy for the GOP nomination.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.