GOP congressman looks to the path to power by joining Trump at the border

Indiana Rep. Jim Banks led a small group to Donald Trump's New Jersey Golf Club. They ate beef tenderloin and took photos. He also briefed them on strategies for the 2022 midterm elections.

GOP congressman looks to the path to power by joining Trump at the border

Banks posted a photo of Trump and him smiling wide, while giving a thumbs up after the June session. He said, "It was completely focused on the future Republican Party."

The 41-year old Banks is determined to play an important role in the future, no matter what. He is a politician with high ambition and is rising in the House Republicans ranks -- and in the estimations of the mercurial Trump.

Banks' overnight visit to Trump's Bedminster Resort marked the beginning of a political journey that saw him go from small-town northeast Indiana county council seat to prominent status in Congress in less than a decade. It was also a testimony to the transformation Banks went through from Trump critic to unapologetic Trump supporter.

Banks was recently appointed to the Republican Study Committee, which is a powerful voting bloc that comprises most of the House Republican conference members. Now, Banks has been charged with creating a policy agenda that bridges Reagan-era conservatism with Trump's populism-driven grievances. It's a project that, if successful, could propel Banks to higher levels in the House leadership.

Banks was invited by Trump to join him for a tour at the U.S.-Mexico Border in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. Trump was expected to speak out against illegal immigration.

"Jim knows that there is no future for Republican Party without Trump supporters. Luke Messer, an ex-Congressman from Indiana who retired in 2019 following a failed Senate campaign, said that he understands the need for traditional movements conservative principles to have a future. His colleagues see his talent and he is trying to solve both halves of the equation.

The No. His rapid evolution was a result of his position as the No. 3 ranking member in the House GOP.

The investigation by Robert Mueller, special counsel to the Trump campaign, was supported by banks. After a video of Trump sexually grabbing women without consent, one bank said that America deserved better.

He now believes Trump's election in 2016 was a "gift" and could make Republicans "a major party for many years to come."

Although Banks has been a good ally in Trump's dealings, his coworkers say that he also understands policy.

"There are some members who excel in politics but don't do well in policy. Jim is one of those rare people who does both," said Rep. Mike Johnson (Republican from Louisiana), who was a former leader of Banks.

Banks is one of the oldest figures in Congress. They have been around for so long that a 19th-century nautical term was used to describe them.

Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political science professor who studies congressional history, said, "He's the trimmer." It refers to a man who adjusts the direction of the wind to trim his sails. He is a serial trimmer in his case.

Banks describe it differently.

Banks stated that he was skeptical of Trump's early views. Banks stated that Trump won him over by doing the things he promised.

Critics of banks use a different term: political expedience.

Gary Snyder, a Republican who has become a Democrat and writes a newsletter about politics in Indiana, said that Jim Banks' actions are based on his political success. They were friends earlier in Banks’ political career, before they fell out in 2016 when Snyder's wife ran for office against Banks.

He is manipulative and cunning. Snyder stated that Snyder plays the game well.

The roots of Banks go back to a trailer park near Fort Wayne, Indiana, in Columbia City. His father was an axle-maker at the Dana Corp. and his mother worked in a nursing home. Banks said that the family was mostly apolitical but his parents voted for Democrats. His father, like many in Indiana, had converted by the time Banks was elected as Congressman on the same night Trump won.

Banks fondly remembers his dad's concern for my election as much as he did about Donald Trump becoming President.

Banks was the first member of his family to attend college. He joined the Indiana University College Republicans to get his first taste of politics. There he met Amanda, his wife. He then went to work as an intern for John Hostettler (now-former Indiana Rep.). There he honed and refined his political skills by working on unsuccessful campaigns in Ohio.

Banks stated, "You learn more when it's hard." After he had his first child, Banks got a job in a construction company. His rise to political prominence began when he was elected GOP chairman for Whitley County. He also later won a seat on the county council.

Two years later, he ran for the Indiana state Senate. The party insiders took notice.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported that a veteran state representative expressed interest in the vacant seat. Banks stated that he would only run if the legislator didn't. Banks was trying to outmaneuver his potential opponent behind the scenes. Banks then asked Snyder, a blogger, for a message: Stand down or face a difficult primary.

"I basically went to him and said, "Jim wants to you step aside. Snyder said that he would help him run for state representative.

According to emails to The Associated Press, Banks would later tip Snyder off to another rival's actions and ask Snyder to write negative blog entries about him.

One email shared a list of examples in which Banks' opponent used poor grammar. Snyder was asked by another to write a critique. Snyder noted that Banks' rival sent campaign materials to people using government email addresses. This gave the impression of improper co-mingling between official and political business.

Banks claimed the campaign took place "a long time ago", but he didn't deny that the account existed. Tom Wall, his former opponent, stated that the two men made amends years ago.

"I like this guy. Wall said, "I pray for him every day." "Don't tell him too many of these things or his head might swell too much. But I am so proud to see him on Fox News.

Banks, like many politicians who are interested in higher office, also sees value in a military credential. Banks was accepted in the Navy Supply Corps program, which focuses on supply chain management, in his 30s. In November 2012, he was commissioned as a Reserve Officer.

After his third child was born in 2014, Banks went to Afghanistan for eight month. Amanda Banks was elected to fill the state Senate seat. He tweeted photos of himself with Republican senators during his deployment. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and Ben Sasse in Nebraska.

A film crew was there to capture the family's reunion when Banks returned. After Banks officially began his campaign for Congress three week later, the footage was used in political ads. At his kickoff event, his combat boots were prominently displayed.

Banks said that "a lot of families go through this over and over again, much more than my family did." He denied any suggestion that politics played a role in his decision to join the Army, calling it "offensive for anyone who has served."

The conservative group Club for Growth spent over $250,000 on advertising to help him win a close primary race. Although $100,000 was spent by the House Freedom Caucus supporting his bid, he chose to not join the group.

Nearly half the campaign cash he raised since then has come from trade organizations and corporate political action committees. This source of money wonnowed after Banks voted against the certification of Joe Biden's win as president.

According to banks, Trump party doesn't need corporate money.

He said, "For the majority of my time in Republican Party Politics, we've heard that Republicans are the party for Big Business." This paradigm has changed. "Now Joe Biden and Democrats are top donors to Wall Street and big tech firms, while Republicans' base of donors is small-dollar working class voters.

Banks has maintained a close relationship to Kevin McCarthy, the California House Republican leader. He played an important public role in building the case for the GOP to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from office, a Wyoming congresswoman who was fired from her No. 3 spot in the House leadership in may.

Banks stated to Fox News that Liz Cheney is the reason why you and I are discussing her. She said she has "failed in her mission of chief spokesperson for our party."

He's also been able to win over some other important members of the House Republican caucus.

"I am a serious legislator, and I appreciate others who are serious legislators," stated Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, the top Republican in the House Armed Services Committee. "We have people in this community who only want to chase TV cameras -- that's not Jim."

Banks' rise mirrors that of an Indiana congressman, former Vice President Mike Pence.

Andy Downs, Purdue University Fort Wayne professor of political science, said that Jim Banks wanted to be influential. Jim Banks can be an influential figure for many decades if he decides his (House) seat is the office from which he wants things to happen."