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Eight newly elected Dem governors miss meeting with Trump

Eight newly elected Democratic governors declined invitations from the White House to meet with President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE on Thursday, or were unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.

The White House reportedly invited 22 state and U.S. territory governor-elects representing both parties to meet with Trump; at least 13 accepted the invitation.

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Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim WalzTim Walz Minneapolis beefs up security ahead of former officer's trial in George Floyd death Officials: Barr blocked officer plea deal in George Floyd death OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden EPA asks Justice Dept. to pause defense of Trump-era rules | Company appeals rejection of Pebble Mine | Energy pick Granholm to get hearing Wednesday MORE cited being busy organizing his incoming administration in his refusal.

“The governor-elect is in Minnesota building his incoming administration and is unable to attend the meeting at the White House,” Kayla Castaneda, a spokeswoman for Walz, said in a statement on Thursday to the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Ned Lamont from Connecticut and Steve Sisolak of Nevada also cited a busy transition schedule.

“Governor-elect Lamont is not at the White House today, but plans to meet with President Trump in February at the [National Governors Association] conference,” spokesperson Lacey Rose said. “The governor-elect has roughly eight weeks to stand up an administration that is ready to govern Day 1.”

“If scheduling had worked out differently,” Sisolak spokeswoman Christina Amestoy said, “I would have been more than happy to send the governor-elect there.”

Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly's staff said she is focused on the transition and the state budget.

“Kansas faces many challenges and the Governor-elect’s first priority is to draft a balanced budget and lay the groundwork to rebuild Kansas,” spokeswoman Ashley All said.

And a representative of Colorado Gov.-elect Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisGrocery store worker slapped after asking customer to wear mask, video shows Lobbying world Colorado presses Biden to reverse Trump Space Command move MORE told The Hill he "is working diligently right now in Colorado to build his cabinet team and prepare policy priorities prior to his inauguration on January 8, 2019."

Representatives for New Mexico's Michelle Lujan GrishamMichelle Lynn Lujan GrishamNew Mexico fines two megachurches K each over packed Christmas Eve services CHC urges Biden to choose Latinos to head Education Department, SBA: report Hispanic Caucus ramps up Cabinet pressure campaign MORE and Maine's Janet Mills did not respond to The Hill's inquiry into why those governor-elects were not at the event.

California Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, whose father died on Wednesday, was also not at the meeting.

Among the Democrats who were in attendance at the White House: Govs.-elect J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Albert Bryan from the Virgin Islands and Lourdes Leon Guerrero from Guam.

Wyoming Gov.-elect Mark Gordon was the only Republican not to attend. An aide said he was overseeing his transition, but was grateful for the invitation.

“Governor-elect Gordon is currently running his transition and overseeing change of administrations,” his spokesperson Kristin Walker told The Hill. “He was honored to be invited to meet with President Trump and fellow governor-elects. He looks forward to working on behalf of Wyoming with President Trump and his Administration on a number of critical issues.”

— This story was updated Dec. 15 at 2:10 p.m.