A total of six House Democrats and one Senate Democrat reportedly took a brief break from accusing President Donald Trump of misdeeds to celebrate Christmas with him at this year’s annual White House congressional ball late Thursday evening, hours before articles of impeachment were passed along a party-line vote.
Everybody else sat it out, including the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who spent the evening debating their Republican colleagues over the merit (or lack thereof) of impeaching the president over what appears to be nothing.
It’s not clear how many Republicans attended the event, though many likely did:
— Senator Roger Wicker (@SenatorWicker) December 13, 2019
White House Congressional Ball, Thursday, December 12, 2019. rep. Kevin mccarthy,Celebrating Christmas at the White House with president Trump, flotus and ja. mccarthy. pic.twitter.com/V2SBJ9sufD
— Friends Of Trump UK??& Commonwealth Affairs ?? (@trump_friends) December 13, 2019
— Laura Figueroa Hernandez (@Laura_Figueroa) December 12, 2019
Thanks @realDonaldTrump & @FLOTUS for hosting Laina & I at the WH tonight. Great talking to POTUS about his incredible week pushing forward #USMCA & a HUGE China trade deal for our farmers. #MAGA #ksleg #kssen pic.twitter.com/5Y3TeEBL5c
— Dr. Roger Marshall (@RogerMarshallMD) December 13, 2019
Guests, mostly if not entirely Republicans, clamor to shake hands and snap selfies with Pres Trump and the First Lady as they mingle at the “Congressional Ball” in the Grand Foyer of the WH. pic.twitter.com/FiN6XQx9L7
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) December 13, 2019
Some suspect that those Democrats who did attend may have been the ones most inclined to vote against the president’s allegedly “Stalinesque” impeachment when the issue reaches the House floor next week.
Axios has identified these seven Democrats as follows: Sen. Tammy Baldwin, New York Rep. Antonio Delgado, Nevada Rep. Susie Lee, Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria, and California Reps. Jim Costa, Josh Harder, and Gil Cisneros.
Some of them have already pushed back on the notion that their attendance at the ball amounted to a vote against impeachment.
Baldwin’s “spokesman John Kraus said there is no link between her attendance at Trump’s party and her thoughts about impeachment,” Axios noted.
Meanwhile, Cisneros’s chief of staff, Nic Jordan, retweeted the following:
Gil Cisneros, a freshman who won a tough race in California last year, told me he will vote for both articles of impeachment but acknowledged: “There may be some blowback … But as I’ve always said, for me this is about national security.” pic.twitter.com/wbzuQVjcn3
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 11, 2019
White House officials were reportedly for their part a bit flummoxed by pro-impeachment Democrats attending the event.
“It’s kind of odd to be voting to say the guy is a clear and present danger to the globe but I’m going to come and hang out at the White House for a black-tie affair,” one unnamed senior official said to Axios.
As for Lee, a first-term congresswoman whose district voted for Trump in 2016, a spokesperson for her reportedly confirmed only that “she’s committed to being a bipartisan problem solver through and through.”
Ironically, the two lone House Democrats who voted against launching the impeachment inquiry two months ago — Reps. Jeff Van Drew and Collin Peterson — were not in attendance.
For his part, the president kept the event completely non-partisan.
“We’re very proud of this country. We’re very proud of this home. We call it a home; some Presidents called it a house. And some Presidents called it much worse than a house, I will say. But we love the White House. It’s a special place. And our country is a special country,” he said.
He also thanked everybody in attendance, including Democrats.
“I just want to thank you,” he said. “We’re going to come down and mingle and see everybody. We’ll spend some time here. Have a good time tonight. But Happy New Year, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah. We’re going to have a fantastic year.”
“We’re going to have the best year we’ve had in many, many decades. This is — we’re set up for one great, big, beautiful success. Thank you all for being here. Thank you for being with us. Thank you very much. Thank you.”
See more photos and clips from the congressional ball below:
. @FLOTUS and @realDonaldTrump tonight coming down from the WH residence and giving remarks at the annual Congressional Ball. (Last pic is the @Reem_Acra cape gown Melania Trump wore tonight.) pic.twitter.com/tWImlWHG69
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) December 13, 2019
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 13, 2019
President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania Trump, hosted a Congressional Ball at the White House, Thursday, December 12. (AP) pic.twitter.com/zEto4Xfzq4
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) December 13, 2019
For the #CongressionalBall, Melania made a sparkling appearance in a white crystal-embellished cape gown from Reem Acra. Made from fluid silk-crepe, it features a dramatic flowing cape with crystals. It retailed for $4,000 but unfortunately it is sold out#WhatMelaniaWore pic.twitter.com/8dT3yXQjkX
— Mona Salama (@MonaSalama_) December 13, 2019
If you look through Twitter, you’ll notice that while many of the Republicans and reporters who attended the event shared photos and/or video from it to their feeds, none of the Democrats who showed up appeared to follow suit. It almost seemed as if they were trying to hide their attendance from their constituents and base.
Though to be fair, as of Saturday morning the president hadn’t tweeted about the ball either.
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