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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump will speak Thursday at GOP policy retreat in West Virginia where Republicans will begin to plan out their strategy for the new year.

It’s the same retreat many GOP members of Congress were traveling to Wednesday when their train struck a garbage truck in Crozet, Virginia. A man in the truck was killed. He’s been identified as 28-year-old Christopher Foley.

“All of sudden we heard obviously a loud crash and felt an impact. Everybody around us got thrown,” said Senator Jeff Flake, R-AZ.

Shortly after the collision, members of Congress with medical training jumped off the train to help paramedics. Senator Bill Cassidy, a doctor, was one of them. He said, for him, the decision to proceed with the conference was, if anything, solidified after spending the afternoon helping to save lives.

“If we’re speaking about defense or foreign affairs, it might be saving our GIs and our Marines and our sailors’ lives,” he said.

Vice President Mike Pence kicked off the conference by recounting GOP successes, much as the president did in the State of the Union. He also, though, acknowledged the potentially tough task ahead of keeping the majority in the House and Senate.

“Conventional wisdom holds that the upcoming midterms are going to be a challenge but I think you all know what president Trumps thinks about conventional wisdom,” said Pence.

The Vice President also urged all in attendance to use stock market growth and tax cuts as selling points when helping GOP hopefuls.

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