Republican Outreach

Were congressional Republicans invited to speak at 50th anniversary of the march on Washington? Did they decline those invitations? We have answers today.

According to Roll Call, both Speaker Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor declined invitations to speak at the event. And for Eric Cantor’s part, there’s much more to the story.

Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the House’s two most senior Republicans, were invited to speak at the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington — but declined. [...]

Cantor, meanwhile, was asked 12 days ago to participate in Wednesday’s event commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s delivery of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech, according to an aide. The Virginia Republican, however, is currently traveling in North Dakota and Ohio, touring energy sites with Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., and participating in “nonofficial events,” according to an aide.

What were those nonofficial events Cantor decided to attend instead of the 50th anniversary?

Evidently, Cantor was touring the state with oil lobbyists.

Rather than attend the event, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) instead met with oil and gas lobbyists in North Dakota, where he toured drilling sites in the North Dakota Bakken. According to the Grand Forks Herald, Cantor met with members of the lobby group, North Dakota Petroleum Council.

Meanwhile, over on the Right a big stink was made out of Representative Tim Scott supposedly not being invited to the 50th anniversary, but we learned today that he was, in fact, invited and that he declined.

[B]ased on an email exchange obtained by CQ Roll Call, the South Carolina Republican did receive an invitation to attend the festivities commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s delivery of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

The invitation, sent Aug. 8 from the Coalition for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, appears to have been a form letter to all members of Congress, with invitees listed as “Representative” rather than by name.

Within a day, Rachel Shelbourne, a staff assistant to Scott, had replied to the email with the following message:

“Thank you for extending to Senator Tim Scott the invitation to the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington on August 28th. Unfortunately, the Senator will be in South Carolina during this time, so he will be unable to attend the event. Please do, however, keep him in mind for future events you may be hosting.”

Invitations sent to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) reportedly went unanswered as did follow-up phone calls to their offices.

Republican outreach continues.