It appears that Democratic leaders in Congress were left off the guest list for President Donald Trump’s first state dinner at the White House on Tuesday. Only one Democratic politician was invited, and he was not a member of Congress. Now, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are furious.
On Tuesday evening in Washington, DC, fifteen months into the Trump administration, First Lady Melania Trump threw her first state dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte. It was a meticulously planned affair with a menu meant to pay tribute to American culinary traditions with “nuances of French influences.”
The intricate meal was served on both the Clinton and George W. Bush china, which features a green color palette that complemented the green flowers featured in the dining room. There were more than 1,200 branches of cherry blossom, all homegrown in the United States, and more than 2,500 stems of white sweet peas. The Kennedy Center’s Washington National Opera performed. And only one Democrat was invited.
On Monday, representatives for the top four Democratic leaders in Congress — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer — told CNN that their offices did not receive an invitation to the state dinner with the French president.
CNN then reached out to the White House for confirmation that no congressional Democrats had been invited to dine with the French president, but they did not receive a response. On Tuesday, though, as attendees began to arrive at the White House, the Clinton News Network got its answer.
It was true — the Trumps had left every single congressional Democrat off the guest list. They had, however, invited one member of the opposing party: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. According to Daily Mail, it is custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots, and so the governor and his wife Donna were in attendance.
According to WGNO, while it’s not common for presidents to invite large swaths of members of the opposing party to state dinners, past presidents have invited a few prominent names because of their work on issues related to the guest of honor, or because the White House was courting them to support an agenda item.
In February 2014, then-President Barack Obama hosted then-French President Francois Hollande for a state dinner and invited a few members of the opposing party, including Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, who was the House Majority Leader at the time. Republican Reps. Paul Ryan, Harold Rogers of Kentucky, and Ed Royce of California also attended, along with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee.
The choice to shun top Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer at Tuesday night’s opulent state dinner speaks volumes about the priorities of the Trump administration. Donald and Melania Trump care about tradition. This is why Gov. John Bel Edwards was invited.
However, the president and his lovely wife surely felt they could do without the drama other Democrats would have brought to the evening. After all, we have seen the way Pelosi and her ilk have acted when they are invited to attend a highly-publicized government function. Just look at the stunt she pulled during President Trump’s State of the Union address. She and her buddy Chuck certainly were not missed on Tuesday.