President Trump skipped his Christmas celebrations last year, he forwent his New Years plans, and he is still refusing to leave the White House as the federal government shut down continues.
Trump has mentioned he wants to be ready the very second that lawmakers bring him a bill that he can sign into law to reopen the government.
He’s ready and he’s waiting.
But, where are the Democrats? Beaching with lobbyists in Puerto Rico, according to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
On Sunday, Sanders tweeted: “Democrats in Congress are so alarmed about federal workers not getting paid they’re partying on the beach instead of negotiating a compromise to reopen the government and secure the border.”
Check it out, from Fox News:
Despite a partial government shutdown with no end in sight, about 30 Democratic members of Congress traveled to Puerto Rico this weekend — with their families and lobbyists — for a winter retreat where they also planned to see a special performance of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.”
Those attending the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC gathering in San Juan also planned to meet Saturday with Puerto Rican officials to discuss ongoing cleanup efforts from Hurricane Maria, according to a report.
“This year’s winter retreat promises to be our most widely attended yet with over 220 guests, including 39 Members of Congress and CHC BOLD PAC supporters expected to attend and participate!” a planning memo said.
The junket is taking place at a seaside resort where rooms run around $429 a night. The participants paid for the “Hamilton” tickets with their own funds, the Washington Examiner reported.
GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel similarly called out Democrat lawmakers for abandoning their legislative chamber to relax on the beach.
“Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are not negotiating in good faith with @realDonaldTrump. Instead, Congressional Democrats spent the weekend on the beach with lobbyists,” McDaniel tweeted on Sunday. “It’s time for them to get back to Washington and work to secure our border and reopen the government.”
Here’s more from the Washington Examiner:
Some 30 Democratic lawmakers left the government shutdown behind Friday on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico for a winter retreat with 109 lobbyists and corporate executives during which they planned to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend three parties including one with the show’s cast.
Some 109 lobbyists and corporate executives are named in the memo, a rate of 3.6 lobbyists for every member. They include those from several big K Street firms, R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association.
But the junket comes at an awkward time, on the day 800,000 federal workers did not receive their first paycheck of the shutdown, with many worried about basic living expenses like food.
The Washington Examiner reports that Bold PAC Chairman Congressman Tony Cardenas justified the trip by saying Democrats in the House have passed bills to reopen the government that did not include $5 billion for the construction of a new border wall. Trump promised to veto any of these bills, but none were taken up for a vote in the Senate.
“House Democrats voted to open the government multiple times; sadly, Senate Republicans and President Trump are continuing to put partisan politics ahead of our country, forcing the government to remain shut down,” Cardenas said in a statement. “As our Bold PAC members make their way to Puerto Rico for this important weekend — the largest contingency of House Democrats to visit Puerto Rico where they’ll be hearing from Commonwealth and local elected officials about the ongoing recovery efforts — we will be closely monitoring the situation in Washington. If there is any progress by Senate Republicans or the White House to reopen the federal government, then we will act accordingly.”
“This gathering was planned months before Trump decided to shut down the federal government for his unnecessary and costly border wall,” Cardenas continued. “The purpose of hosting Bold PAC’s retreat in Puerto Rico is to see and hear from the more than 3.5 million American citizens who have been working tirelessly to rebuild their lives on the Island after Hurricane Maria. This remains a national priority, and it is necessary for us to be there and honor our fellow American children, seniors, veterans, men and women.”
Fox News producer David McAlpine shared a picture of Democrat Congressman Bob Menendez on the beach in Puerto Rico: