Winter Park’s Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy was invited to the White House today along with other moderate Democrats in Congress to talk with President Donald Trump about his proposal for a border wall, but she said no, citing a schedule conflict.
Murphy is among a handful of Democrats described as moderates or in swing districts that the White House scrambled Monday to invite to a quickly arranged lunch-hour meeting Tuesday with Trump to talk about a deal for the wall and to reopen the federal government, which is now partly closed for the 25th day, according to a report on RollCall.com.
Murphy’s office said there is a scheduling conflict because of an organizational meeting of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is set for noon. At that meeting, the committee will make subcommittee assignments.
Murphy issued a statement noting she has attended White House meetings with Trump before, but the committee meeting makes it impossible this time. She also urged passage of the House bill pushed by Democrats last week to reopen the government without including the wall.
Roll Call reports that at least one other Democrat turned down the meeting explicitly because he does not want to talk about the wall until the government reopens fully. That was U.S. Rep. Lou Correa of California.
“I have attended meetings with the President at the White House before, but a scheduling conflict prevented me from accepting this invitation,” Murphy said in the written statement. “However, I continue to believe the Senate should pass and the President should sign the bills reopening government that the House already passed. As a former national security specialist at the Pentagon, I look forward to having a meaningful, bipartisan discussion about the best way to secure our country.”
It is unclear which other Democrats had invites to the 12:30 p.m. meeting, and whether any have agreed to go. One source suggested the invite list appears to be a mix of moderate Democrats and those who can expect tough re-elections in 2020.
Murphy and Correa are co-chairs, along with Rep. Tom O’Halleran of Arizona, of the Blue Dog Coalition, with Murphy holding the first-among-equals position of co-chair for the administration of the Blue Dogs.