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 John Trump Trump responds to calls to tear down monuments with creation of 'National Garden' of statues Trump: Children are taught in school to 'hate their own country' Trump accuses those tearing down statues of wanting to 'overthrow the American Revolution' 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 WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzMinnesota lawmakers blast pharmaceutical industry lawsuit over insulin affordability law Judge in George Floyd case tells attorneys, officials, family to limit public statements Internal watchdog investigating if Air Force improperly used plane to surveil protests: report 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 PolisOfficer involved in taking pictures mocking Elijah McClain resigns Colorado governor closes bars amid rise in virus cases Justice Dept. says it's reviewing Elijah McClain's death for potential civil rights probe 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 GrishamGovernors urge Pence to promote mask-wearing Warren top choice for VP for some Black progressives Poll finds Warren most popular Biden VP choice among college students 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.