State Watch

Dem governors left out of traditional White House press conference


Democratic governors and some Republican governors who attended a meeting with President Trump on Monday were excluded from the traditional bipartisan press conference outside the West Wing, party officials said.

The nation’s governors, in town for an annual conference that by tradition includes an audience with the president, visited the White House Monday morning. Trump told governors his administration would streamline regulations, repeal the Affordable Care Act and increase spending on defense and infrastructure.

{mosads}After the event, Republican governors, including Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin, met reporters outside the White House. No Democrats were present.

Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, said that Democratic governors who tried to meet reporters at the “Pebble Beach” media area outside the White House were sent elsewhere.

“Some of our gov’s planned to go to Pebble Beach to talk to reporters and were not able to,” Leopold said in a text message. 

Some Republican governors said they had not been included in the press conference either. In an interview with The Hill, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the vice chairman of the NGA, said he had learned about the press conference an hour after it took place.
Sandoval is one of a handful of Republican governors whose state accepted money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

Two White House spokespeople did not respond to a request for comment.

By tradition, the White House audience — set up by the National Governors Association, which emphasizes its bipartisan credentials — is an inclusive affair. Republicans were routinely invited to speak after meeting with then-President Obama, and Democrats were given the microphone after sitting down with then-President George W. Bush.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who chairs the NGA, and Sandoval appeared together on Capitol Hill after the White House meeting. McAuliffe and Sandoval said their conversations with Trump and members of the new administration had been largely positive.

“I’m confident that the state and federal partnership is alive and well,” Sandoval said.


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