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Trump Jr. seeks to elect 'new blood' to Republican Party

Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpLatest 'Borat' footage appears to show star at the White House, meeting Trump Jr. Trump Jr. returning to campaign trail after quarantining Trump Jr., UFC star launch anti-socialism bus tour through South Florida MORE is putting his political capital behind an effort to elect the next generation of anti-establishment conservatives, believing President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE needs “new blood” in the House willing to defend him from Democratic attacks and take on the news media.

The president’s eldest son has been helping House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire Trump is out of touch with Republican voters on climate change The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Iran, Russia election bombshell; final Prez debate tonight MORE (R-Calif.) recruit new GOP candidates. He’s personally endorsed a half dozen himself, ranging from long-shots in Baltimore to candidates running in hotly contested pivot counties in battleground states.

The main criteria, Trump Jr. explained to The Hill in an interview at Trump International Hotel on Tuesday, is that the candidates must be conservative fighters committed to showing up in Washington and sticking to their guns, even if it means defending the president in the face of extreme pressure from Democrats or the news media.

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“[We’re getting] this new blood that’s not establishment, people coming into this for the right reasons with good stories who want to fight and are not afraid to actually be a conservative,” Trump Jr. said, sitting at the end of a long wooden table in the ornate townhouse on the first floor of his father’s Washington hotel.

The Trump hotel, which is usually a nerve center for administration and campaign insiders, was moving at a slower pace on Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic and the GOP convention.

Trump Jr. was dressed down in a pink button-down shirt and dark jeans. He wore a black mask as he walked around the first floor of the hotel to mingle with friends and aides, including former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard GrenellRichard GrenellTrump leans into attacks on Biden's family, business dealings Trump expected to bring Hunter Biden's former business partner to debate Tiffany Trump campaigns at Trump Pride event: 'I know what my father believes in' MORE.

Campaign staffers hung around wearing black Trump-Pence face coverings. Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpEric Trump shares manipulated photo of Ice Cube and 50 Cent in Trump hats Rally crowd chants 'lock him up' as Trump calls Biden family 'a criminal enterprise' Twitter removes Trump COVID advisor tweet that questioned use of masks MORE, who is suddenly embroiled in a legal battle with the New York attorney general over the Trump Organization, walked through the hotel chatting up guests.

Behind the scenes, Trump Jr. has been fundraising, recording robocalls, cutting radio ads and filming iPhone and Facebook videos for his endorsed candidates. Several of them will be featured at the Republican National Convention this week.

Sean Parnell, the Army Ranger who talked about his 485 days in battle on the Afghan-Pakistan border at the convention on Monday night, is challenging Rep. Conor Lamb (D) in Pennsylvania’s 17th district, a pivot seat that swung from President Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016.

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Trump Jr. is also backing Jim Bognet, a Pennsylvania businessman seeking to unseat freshman Rep. Matt CartwrightMatthew (Matt) Alton CartwrightThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats break fundraising records in Senate races Races heat up for House leadership posts Trump Jr. seeks to elect 'new blood' to Republican Party MORE (D) in a district Trump won by 10 points in 2016 but that swung to Democrats in 2018.

He’s appeared at events for Burgess Owens, a Black Republican and former NFL player in a tight race against Rep. Ben McAdams (D) in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. Owens will address the convention on Wednesday night.

Trump Jr., an avid outdoorsman, is campaigning for two GOP candidates in Montana: Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesDemocrat trails by 3 points in Montana Senate race: poll Poll shows statistical tie in Montana Senate race Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid MORE, who is in a tough reelection fight against Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockInterior says Pendley to remain at BLM despite 'dramatic tweets' from Democrats Democrat trails by 3 points in Montana Senate race: poll Poll shows statistical tie in Montana Senate race MORE (D), and Republican Matt Rosendale, who is running to represent the state’s at-large congressional district.

There are a couple of long-shots on Trump Jr.’s radar.

He’s backing Kim Klacik, who is running in the deep-blue Maryland district that once belonged to the late Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene Cummings'Kamala' and 'Kobe' surge in popularity among baby names Women of color flex political might Black GOP candidate accuses Behar of wearing black face in heated interview MORE (D-Md.). Klacik, a Black woman, addressed the first night of the GOP convention and has gone viral on the right for accusing Democrats of taking Black voters for granted.

Trump Jr. called Alex Skarlatos to encourage him to run for Congress in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, which Rep. Peter DeFazioPeter Anthony DeFazioDemocrats, GOP fighting over largest House battlefield in a decade Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now 'working out' Trump gambles with new stimulus strategy MORE (D-Ore.) routinely wins by double digits. Skarlatos is the former National Guardsman who helped stop a gunman on a train bound for Paris in 2015.

“There are plenty of people we’ve seen over the past four years, where it’s like, with friends like these, who needs Republicans? You basically have Democrats,” Trump Jr. said. “But there are so many who have started getting it … I like seeing that because there’s a lot of new personality coming into the party willing to engage and play the way the Democrats have played for decades.”

Trump and his allies have been angered by the Washington Republicans who have been openly critical of Trump, including Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyWill anyone from the left realize why Trump won — again? Ratings drop to 55M for final Trump-Biden debate Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning MORE (Utah) and most recently Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyMcCarthy faces pushback from anxious Republicans over interview comments Steve King defends past comments on white supremacy, blasts NYT and GOP leaders in fiery floor speech GOP lawmakers distance themselves from Trump comments on transfer of power MORE (Wyo.), the third-ranking Republican in the House.

The Hill asked Trump Jr. if he believes Cheney should have a leadership role in the next Congress.

“It’s just very different, where the Republican Party is going,” he responded. “We’re still the party of endless wars and there are still some neo-cons who are really into that and we are not. My father is not … I just think that mentality is really out of place in the Republican Party right now but there are going to be those dinosaurs who do not evolve.”

Trump Jr. addressed the QAnon conspiracy theory, which has become a headache for GOP House leaders who have had to contend with recent primary victories by Republican candidates that have either embraced the theory or made other controversial and bigoted remarks.

Trump Jr. rejected QAnon but he bristled at the question, saying the media is giving it oxygen as part of an effort to paint Republicans as fringe conspiracy theorists.

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“I know almost nothing about it,” Trump Jr. said. “I think it’s one of those things — yes, reject it — but … I’m around more Republicans and conservatives around the country than anyone and it barely if ever comes up.”

“I think it’s one of those things the media attaches to,” he added. “I don’t see it being as big an issue as everyone makes it out to be. In my life, in my politics, it’s a nonissue.”

On the presidential front, Trump Jr. expressed confidence his father would win a second term in office.

He said Democrats have a blind spot when it comes to addressing the violent aspects of the racial injustice protests. This week, Kenosha, Wis., became the latest American city to experience civil unrest — including buildings being set on fire — in response to police violence against a Black man.

Trump Jr. said the destructive elements of the protests, and the Democratic lawmakers he said are turning a blind eye to crimes committed by protesters, would turn moderate suburban voters away from Democrats in November.

“When you look at Middle America, suburban people, that’s coming to your backyard soon enough and [Democrats are] showing they’re not willing to confront what at any other point in history … would clearly be crime,” Trump Jr. said.

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He pointed to recent polling in Minnesota that has found Trump running even with Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Brad Pitt narrates Biden ad airing during World Series MORE, saying the move in Trump’s direction has in part been driven by frustration with the destruction of parts of Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed.

“People are looking around at their major cities and saying this could happen here,” Trump Jr. said.

“The left always overplays their hands so badly I think people will wake up and say, 'This is ridiculous,' ” he added.

Trump Jr. said he’s not concerned about polling showing Trump trailing nationally and in most of the battleground states, saying there is a “ghost component” that election analysts aren’t accounting for.

Republicans insist that so-called shy Trump voters who don’t want to reveal they support the president to pollsters or the news media will be a major surprise on Election Day.

“The media has been so biased and if you’re a conservative … I don’t think someone is going to tell people on the phone, some stranger calling who they’re actually voting for,” Trump Jr. said.