Following reports that there were no congressional Democrats at the state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron, the White House explained to Newsmax why the Trump Administration was breaking a near 80-year-old tradition of presidents inviting members the opposition party to dinners for visiting foreign dignitaries.
"We don’t have to have dinner with them to have conversations with them," press secretary Sarah Sanders told us. "We'll continue to talk with them about policy-related issues."
She added that since "there were a number of Democrats [outside of Congress] that were present kind of negates the fact that it wasn’t a bipartisan dinner."
In questioning the President Donald Trump's top spokesman about the guest list at the Macron dinner, we noted that rumors earlier in the day that there were "no Democrats" invited.
A check of the guest list, however, showed that there were at least four Democrats invited: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and his wife, Donna, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his guest, former Environmental Protection Administrator Lisa Jackson.
But there were no Democratic senators or House members on the list.
“Again, as you said, there were Democrats present at the dinner, and the focus of this dinner was to keep it intimate and small, and that’s exactly what we did,” replied Sanders. “There was a wide range of individuals that participated, and we think it was a great success and [we are] very proud of not just the dinner but the entire visit, and certainly the relationship that we have with our great ally in France.”
In at least 80 years of state dinners at the White House, presidents have invited members of Congress from the opposition party. In the state dinner honoring King George and Queen Elizabeth of England, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited a potential Republican challenger, Republican Sen. Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan.
In introducing Vandenberg to the royal couple, FDR said, “he wants my job but is never going to get it."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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