Not a single Democratic member of Congress attended Monday’s ceremonial bill signing for 9/11 victim relief legislation, according to a senior White House official, and some lawmakers claim it’s because they were never invited.
Trump signed the “Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Authorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act,” which provides compensation to victims of and first responders to the 9/11 attacks, in the White House Garden alongside the families of the namesakes of the legislation. (RELATED: Trump Signs 9/11 First Responders Relief Bill)
While several Republican lawmakers attended the event — primarily those who represent New York and Pennsylvania, where the 9/11 terror attacks occurred — there were no Democrats in attendance, according to a White House official. Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer previously blamed his absence on a prior engagement, but others on Capitol Hill insisted to the Daily Caller on Tuesday that they didn’t receive an invite.
Schumer did get a White House invite to 9/11 event, received 12:25 a.m. on July 27, per office. He has previous commitment in upstate New York. Have yet to hear back from Gillibrand’s folks. https://t.co/vQLBYYUXot
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) July 29, 2019
A senior White House official, however, confirmed to the Caller that every member of Congress was invited to the ceremony. According to reporting by Politico’s Jake Sherman, the invites were sent out on Saturday.
Follow up … A White House source tells me every member of Congress was invited to the bill signing ceremony. Invites were sent Saturday morning, as @seungminkim has already pointed out. https://t.co/6WTTtlYDrO
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) July 29, 2019
Nonetheless, Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez told the Caller that he “didn’t get invited” to the bill signing.
Democratic Delaware Sen. Tom Carper was initially unsure as to why he did not attend the event, turning to his scheduler for clarification. The scheduler replied, “I did not receive the invitation.”
Other Democrats had similar responses.
Deleware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons: “I don’t believe I was invited. I have gone to virtually every bill signing I’ve been invited to and I appreciate the invitations, I am not meaning that to be … I was unaware of an invitation. I would have gone if invited.”
“I was not invited,” Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said.
When the Caller asked about the reports that invitations had gone out Saturday, he responded, “we did not get an invite — yeah, we did not get an invite.”
“I had a pretty full day here,” Michigan Democratic Sen. Gary Peters said.
“I wasn’t invited,” Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin claimed. “I would have been there in a heartbeat, my God,” when the Caller pointed out that invitations were sent Saturday.
Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed responded: “I don’t know if I was even invited.”
When asked about the Saturday invitation, Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden responded, “I was not in the city, but I do not believe I was invited.”
“I wasn’t invited,” Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones said.
Democratic Connecticut Sen. Dick Blumenthal was the only Democratic senator asked by the Caller who said they had received an invitation, but did still not appear at the ceremony. Blumenthal blamed the “last minute” nature of the invite, explaining, “I was invited less than 24 hours in advance and I had commitments that were unbreakable in Connecticut.”
“I wasn’t invited ’til barely the last minute,” he added. “I couldn’t even get a plane.”
The Caller obtained a copy of the generic White House invitation via email, which was sent out early Saturday morning.
A senior White House official slammed the Democrats for claiming they weren’t invited, asserting, “Democrats better check their emails and mailboxes before they make up a fake news story about not being invited.”
“They misled about their invites to the White House for the same reason they criticized Mitch McConnell for the delay of a bill he himself was whipping—because they have no idea what they’re doing,” a GOP aide said. “They’re a disorganized rage mob in search of a cause that sells beyond ‘Orange Man Bad.'”