Gov.-elect Bill Lee met with President Donald Trump Thursday.
Lee was among a group of 13 newly elected Republican and Democratic governors who met the president at the White House to talk about the workforce, veterans, infrastructure and other issues, WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reported. At least five Cabinet secretaries were in attendance.
Vice President Mike Pence also was in attendance, Fox 17 News reported.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2018
The White House released a statement on the meeting which provided some of the comments the participants made. The president started off praising the newly elected governors:
THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you very much. We have invited the nation’s — our great nation’s newly elected governors. And some really terrific people. They’re going to do a wonderful job.
The president went on to call the governors-elect winners.
Later in the meeting, the president congratulated Lee on his election:
GOVERNOR-ELECT LEE: And I’m honored to be here today with you and with Mr. Vice President. We look forward to serving the people of Tennessee and partnering with you.
THE PRESIDENT: Fantastic race.
GOVERNOR-ELECT LEE: Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: You did a great job. Thank you.
Even though 13 new governors from both political parties met with Trump, several Democrats turned down the White House’s invitation, multiple media outlets reported.
Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz declined to visit Washington, D.C., the Star-Tribune reported. Walz stayed behind to meet with his transition staff. However, the former Congressman has been critical of Trump on issues like veterans affairs, the newspaper said.
Kansas’ Democratic Gov.-elect Laura Kelly also decided not to attend, The Wichita Eagle reported.
And Connecticut’s Democratic Gov.-elect Ned Lamont stayed home, the CT Mirror said.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.