WASHINGTON. All five New Texas Republicans in Congress missed a reception with President Joe Biden Tuesday night, some citing scheduling conflicts, others boycotting objections to the White House’s demand for COVID-19 tests.
Two Democratic freshmen from Texas did attend, Representatives Greg Kasar of Austin and Jasmine Crockett of Dallas.
Casar said Republicans missed a rare opportunity to break the ice with the president, dispel misconceptions shaped by Fox News, and connect with cabinet members and senior White House advisers — a relationship that could help them serve voters regardless of gaping political divisions.
“There were Republican members from Alabama and New York,” he said, adding that “Biden’s whole speech was about putting the party back and helping working people, especially middle-class people and working-class families. You know that any member of the Republican Party who comes will be able to hear the truth about what we are trying to work on. Instead of watching the Tucker Carlson show.”
Among others, Casar spoke with Minister of Internal Security Alejandro Majorcas.
Four of the five Texas GOP freshmen co-authored articles of impeachment against Majorcas related to border security: Rep. Kate Self of McKinney, Nathaniel Moran of Tyler, Morgan Luttrell of Magnolia, and Monica De La Cruz of McAllen.
So maybe it was awkward.
De La Cruz said her time could be better spent in other ways, including a scheduled call with the kids.
“As a single mother, they are my top priority,” De La Cruz wrote at the White House in a letter she provided to Fox News. “I’m sure you can understand. Also, I love Shiner Bock and Taco Palenque more.”
Self and Luttrell cited conflicts. According to one of the assistants, Moran originally planned to come, but his schedule did not allow it.
Casar said he needed to discuss teacher pay with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and the chronically high rate of uninsured Texans with Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. He had other “important conversations” with Housing Secretary Martha Fudge and, in short, with Biden himself and Vice President Kamala Harris.
He shared his views on abortion rights and immigration, and his GOP colleagues might do the same if they came, he said.
5 months ago, President Biden announced on national television that the pandemic was over. However, the White House requires a negative COVID test result to participate in tonight’s taxpayer-funded event. I politely decline.
— Wesley Hunt (@WesleyHuntTX) January 24, 2023
Houston Representative Wesley Hunt of Houston, another Republican freshman from Texas, cited the COVID-19 testing requirement for declining the invitation.
“Five months ago, President Biden said on national television that the pandemic was over. However, the White House requires a negative COVID test result to participate in tonight’s taxpayer-funded event. I politely decline,” he tweeted.
Democrats responded that Republicans are still seeking to maintain testing requirements for migrants wishing to enter the United States.
Journalists must be tested on the same day they are in the daily pool, which may be in the same room as the president. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted that lawmakers were not selected for Tuesday night’s reception and called it a “common sense” measure for large gatherings on the White House premises, a crowded workplace, and the executive seat.
“We have protective equipment in place to protect the staff and the President of the United States. COVID is not over yet,” she said.