Taegan Goddard

Republican retreat kicks off with a rocky start

GOP image makeover retreat may need an image makeover

Taegan Goddard

After a tough election season and an equally tough lame duck session of Congress, House Republicans are regrouping at an image makeover retreat in Williamsburg, Va. this week.

But it's not looking so good.

Reporters quickly noted that a session for lawmakers called "Discussion on Successful Communication with Minorities and Women" will actually take place in the "Burwell Plantation" room at the resort where the retreat is being held.

It turns out, according to NBC News, the room "is named after the Burwell Family, a wealthy family that owned many slaves in 18th century Southern Virginia."

The irony of learning how to woo minorities in a room named after slaveholders was not lost on Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.): "I don't pick the rooms we meet in."

But the missteps didn't end there.

The New York Times reports the panel discussion on how to communicate with minorities and women included three white lawmakers. Walden had to note that the panel would include several women, whom he identified as "a woman from CNN" and "Sean Duffy's wife."

With such obvious image problems, lawmakers probably shouldn't have been very surprised when GOP pollster David Winston unveiled, as Politico reports, the House Republicans' most recent favorable rating: "It came in at a barrel-scraping 27 percent."

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