The White House didn’t say who attended but said that the Jan. 16 meeting was fruitful.
“The President and his team had a constructive meeting with bipartisan members of the problem solvers caucus. They listened to one another and now both have a good understanding of what the other wants. We look forward to more conversations like this,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
The Democrat attendees were later identified as Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.), Thomas Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Vincente Gonzalez (D-Texas), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), Max Rose (D-N.Y.), and Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.).
“The President and his team had a constructive meeting with bipartisan members of the problem solvers caucus. They listened to one another and now both have a good understanding of what the other wants. We look forward to more conversations like this.”
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 16, 2019
All were newly invited apart from Spanberger, who failed to attend the Jan. 15 meeting.
Some Republican representatives also attended, including Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.).
The Democrats who met with Trump are all considered moderates and are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus. Many of them have expressed their wish to reach a compromise with the president as their party leadership refuses to budge in the standoff over funding for the southern border wall.
Spanberger, for instance, said she’s getting feedback that Democrats aren’t putting enough emphasis on border security.
Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus at the White House today:
Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ)
Thomas Suozzi (D-NY)
Vincente Gonzalez (D-TX)
Anthony Brindisi (D-NY)
Dean Phillips (D-MN)
Max Rose (D-NY)
Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)
— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) January 16, 2019
“If I am getting comments and contact from my constituents expressing concern that the Democrats are not prioritizing security, then I think we can do better,” she told Politico.
Brindisi has also been vocal about trying to find a deal that both Republicans and Democrats can approve that will end the partial government shutdown.
“This shutdown has real consequences for everyday people,” he told the Oneida Daily Dispatch. “Stopping routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods at high risk because of contamination because of the federal government’s shutdown is a recipe for disaster.”
“I’ve been meeting with several representatives from across the country, both Democrats and Republicans,” he added. “And I’ve been trying to force leadership on both sides of the aisle to work out a compromise to this shutdown.”
Rep. Spanberger says that the meeting in the White House was “productive,” but declines to elaborate beyond that.
— Emily Cochrane (@ESCochrane) January 16, 2019
Few representatives who met with Trump appear to have said how it went. Spanberger told reporters that it was “productive” but declined to elaborate.
Some issued statements beforehand.
Phillips said in a statement obtained by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Trump can end the shutdown by passing appropriations that don’t include wall funding, despite Trump’s insistence that he will not do so.
“Congress has offered meaningful solutions and it’s time for the President to end this shutdown so that we can get to the work of securing our borders and ports and passing comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform,” Phillips said. “That is the message I will carry to The White House today.”
Prior to the meeting, the caucus said in a statement: “Over the last weeks, we have been listening to our constituents and speaking with our fellow Members of Congress—in both parties and in both chambers. There is strong agreement across the aisle and around the country: We must reopen the government. Our security, safety, and economy have been compromised, and millions of families are suffering.”