GOP lawmaker on meeting Trump amid push for party unity

Rep. Chris Collins weighs in


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 21, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: New York Republican Congressman Chris Collins was among those lawmakers who met with Mr. Trump. He, by the way, is endorsing Donald Trump.

Very good to have you, sir.

REP. CHRIS COLLINS, R-N.Y.: Good to be with you, Neil.

CAVUTO: I have a feeling, Congressman, this wasn't exactly as it was billed.

It was supposed to be the real powerful establishment leadership types, but not a one of them of that type were there. So, what can I read into that?  They either had other things to do or they didn't want to be at this meeting? What?

COLLINS: Well, certainly, Donald Trump is here primarily in D.C. to speak to AIPAC today.

And we should point out, at the same time, Barack Obama is down in Cuba meeting with Raul Castro. I think that's an interesting visual, in and of itself. But the meeting was put together, as has been reported, by Senator Sessions, very short timeline of about 48 hours when Senator Sessions, knowing that Mr. Trump would be in D.C., called a group of us together.

And it was an excellent meeting. You could call it an outreach to those of us in D.C., and really Mr. Trump was thanking us for our past support and looking for input.

We discussed the Supreme Court in depth. We certainly discussed the campaign against Hillary, the need for the Republicans to coalesce around Mr. Trump, because we are confident he will go to though the convention with the 1,237 or even more as our nominee.


CAVUTO: I'm sorry, sir.

Everyone in that room was of the opinion that he would eventually be the nominee? Were there any resistors in the bunch or what?

COLLINS: There's no one resisting that he will be our nominee, and whether he comes with 1,150 delegates and has to pick up the last 25 or whether he goes all the way to 1,400, which was suggested, you're going to see states like New York, which are based on congressional districts, he may well carry all 27 congressional districts in New York.

CAVUTO: No, I understand that, but it sounds like he was kind of preaching to the choir.

I had the appearance that this was going to be a meeting of leery or, for want of a better, doubtful establishment types, for want of a better term, sir, who he could win over. It looks like this group was pretty won over.


COLLINS: Well, no, there were a few uncommitted legislators in the room that were here to listen. He asked all of us for our input.

CAVUTO: Who? Who were the uncommitted and were they more committed afterwards?

COLLINS: Well, I'm not going to disclose the folks there, because it's not my place to do.

But I can tell you, there was a lot of discussion on what is going on in our districts. Mine is all about jobs. Another member was all about national defense. There was also the women issues raised, so it was actually a very productive, positive conversation.

And, no, not everyone that was there is on the record today as a Trump supporter. And we had, as has been reported, some outside groups that attended. It was a very appropriate outreach for Mr. Trump, following his wins last Tuesday and what we think will be a good night tomorrow.

CAVUTO: Well, there's no doubt. And it's an eclectic group besides yourself, Duncan Hunter of California, Tom Marino Pennsylvania, RENEE Ellmers North Carolina. You had former House Speaker Newt Gingrich there.  You had former Senator Jim DeMint.

Obviously, Jeff Sessions got the ball rolling, to you point. But he does have some doubters in the party who doubt that he is going to have that 1,237.

Did he tell you that he needed 1,237 to be the nominee or did he say, as we have heard from him in the past, that if he has piled up this many delegates, he might not need that 1,237?

COLLINS: Well, certainly, we discussed what if he shows up with 1,100 and the next member has 700? To me, that's a fait accompli.

Obviously, there's a rule that some may be trying to charge about having a majority of delegates.

CAVUTO: But wait. Well, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. That's not a fait accompli. You either have 1,237 or you don't.

Was he saying and were you saying here that if he had 1,100, that is good enough because the closest guy is hundreds of delegates behind?

COLLINS: We did discuss if it was 1,100, 1,125, we can't imagine any scenario that they're going to reach back and take somebody who has got 400, 500, 600 delegates and call that a good day.

CAVUTO: But you realize that there's a process of -- that 1,237 is half the plus one? Someone has to get there through multiple ballots, if need be, probably would be a front-running position for Mr. Trump, but he doesn't have the nomination until he has that. Right?

COLLINS: Well, that's certainly true. And that's why we're hoping that he really racks them up in Arizona tomorrow and he racks them up in Wisconsin and New York and Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

And if those turn out the way we expect, then I think people will realize it's time to unite to defeat Hillary Clinton.


CAVUTO: OK, I'm sorry, sir. I just want to be very, very clear.

None of you said in the meeting, nor did he, that the 1,237 was unnecessary, that in the end he would have to get that and then would be the nominee? Anything short of that, he technically is not the nominee.  Did you agree on that?

COLLINS: We certainly agreed with that there would be a process. We all have the same confidence, if he has got 1,125 and the next person has 700, the party will see the logic of supporting someone who has won north to east and south to west.


CAVUTO: No, it won't at all. No, it won't at all.

You either get 1,237 or you don't. Now, you're right. He has substantial lead. He could go into the convention with a substantial lead. I just want to be clear, and maybe you can clarify for me, that 1,100 will be good enough because he has such a big lead. Everyone was on the same page that, in the end, Mr. Trump, you're going to need that 1,237. Am I right?

COLLINS: Oh, sure. He has to get the 1,237. No two ways about it. No two ways about it.

CAVUTO: OK. Understand.

All right, Congressman, thank you very, very much.

COLLINS: Yes, any time, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

Content and Programming Copyright 2016 Fox News Network, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2016 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.