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 TrumpTrump knocks BuzzFeed over Cohen report, points to Russia dossier DNC says it was targeted by Russian hackers after fall midterms BuzzFeed stands by Cohen report: Mueller should 'make clear what he's disputing' 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 WalzStates scramble to fill void left by federal shutdown Where does your governor stand on marijuana legalization? Dem governors draw contrasts with Trump 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 PolisWhere does your governor stand on marijuana legalization? First openly gay man to be elected governor sworn in to office in Colorado 7 heartwarming moments in 2018 politics 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 GrishamStates scramble to fill void left by federal shutdown Overnight Energy: Justices reject Exxon appeal in climate case | Interior to use entrance fees to keep national parks open | Dems question legality of move | Hearing on water rule postponed due to shutdown Progressive strategist says changing demographics will help Dems 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.