Voting in the midterm elections concluded last month but the near future the results enacted is still forming. Democrats picked up a number of important governorships across the United States — and this week, eight of the newly elected Democratic governors declined an offer to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House.
Some cited scheduling difficulties, and some didn’t offer any public explanation at all, while at least one governor-elect’s team offered what’s close to a direct rebuke and dismissal of the president.
Kansas Governor-elect Laura Kelly’s spokeswoman Ashley All insisted:
‘Kansas faces many challenges and the Governor-elect’s first priority is to draft a balanced budget and lay the groundwork to rebuild Kansas.’
In other words, she’s not that interested in palling around with the president and playing into his ego games.
During the Thursday meeting at the White House that she and others skipped, the governors-elect had the opportunity to discuss “workforce development, infrastructure, support for veterans and military families, and fighting the opioid crisis,” according to the White House — although there’s been plenty of reporting about the shouting matches and chaos that White House meetings devolve into. Trump’s been reported to have put Lou Dobbs on speakerphone at times, and we all saw him argue on camera with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) just recently.
The president had previously ardently campaigned against Kelly, who longtime Trump backer Kris Kobach had been challenging.
He’d offered some of his familiar nonsense talking points against her, asserting, for instance, that she wants to give public benefits to undocumented immigrants — although for the millionth time, they don’t even qualify according to most present laws and aren’t draining America’s coffers like the Republicans claims. Conspiracies don’t magically become reality.
Considering the circumstances, any meeting between Trump and Kelly would no doubt have had an extra level of tension.
Other Democratic governors-elect to skip visiting the White House include Nevada’s Steve Sisolak, Connecticut’s Ned Lamont, and Minnesota’s Tim Walz.
All of them cited busy schedules as underlying their absence, indicating — in Sisolak and Lamont’s cases explicitly — that they’d be willing and ready to meet with the president at other times.
Neither New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham, Maine’s Janet Mills, nor Colorado’s Jared Polis offered any apparent immediate explanations for their absence from the White House, while California’s Gavin Newsom — the eighth missing Democrat — lost his father just this week.
Trump has sparred with Newsom’s team in the past; he currently serves as the state’s lieutenant governor and has faced rounds of legal challenges from the Trump administration. For instance, in an ultimately failed effort, the Trump team sought to overturn the state’s efforts to keep immigration law enforcement and regular police separate and thereby preserve the integrity of both. The state and the administration have also been on opposite sides of efforts to combat climate change.
In other words… it’s ultimately hardly not just the Democrats who have injected some kind of awkwardness into the situation via skipping the White House meeting.
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