White House considered inviting GOP leaders to Camp David summit

The White House considered inviting congressional leaders to a Camp David retreat to help improve relations with Capitol Hill following the midterm elections.


The idea was ultimately scrapped because of logistical conflicts during the short lame-duck session, although the president did host Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDemocrats eager to fill power vacuum after Pelosi exit Stopping the next insurrection Biden, lawmakers mourn Harry Reid MORE (R-Ohio), incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHow Cruz Supreme Court case could lead to unlimited anonymous election spending Trump and Biden should stop denigrating US elections The Armageddon elections to come MORE (R-Ky.), and their Democratic counterparts for a lengthy meeting at the White House.

President Obama’s team, though, still hopes to revive the idea of a getaway summit sometime early in the new Congress, according to a report in Politico.

On Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said he anticipated “that the president will have an opportunity to sit down with congressional leaders in the first couple of weeks that they’re back here.”

“I don’t have a specific date at this point, but I would anticipate that that’s something that will happen if not this week, then the week or two after that,” Earnest said.

At a press conference following Democrats’ across-the-board midterm defeat, the president pledged he would do what was necessary to reach across the aisle to Republican leaders in hopes of striking compromise agreements on trade and tax deals.

“If the ways that we’re approaching the Republicans in Congress isn’t working, I’m going to try different things — whether it’s having a drink with Mitch McConnell or letting John Boehner beat me again at golf,” Obama said.

On Sunday, McConnell told CNN that the highly anticipated “bourbon summit” between the two would occur.

“Well, I think it will happen. The people in the industry in our state are sure hoping it's going to happen,” he said.

The Kentucky lawmaker said they would need “to have some kind of draw it out of a hat selection for the bourbon” because choosing a brand would be like selecting a favorite child.

One possibility is that President Obama could make an appearance at the annual Republican retreat, which House and Senate lawmakers are holding next week in Hershey, Pa.

Earnest said Monday he did not know whether the president had been invited or would attend. Democrats will hold their own annual retreat at the end of the month.