Obama Hosts Congressional Picnic: Democracy Can Be ‘Frustrating and Messy’

Guests take photos during a picnic for members of Congress on the South Lawn of the White House, June 17, 2015, in Washington.
Evan Vucci/AP Photo

President Obama hosted members of Congress at the White House last night for the annual Congressional Summer Picnic, in the midst of a controversial vote that stalled his fast track trade package.

During his remarks at the event, Obama tried to unite everyone, remaining them that although American democracy was “frustrating and messy,” they were all on the same American team.

“[W]e’ve got a democracy that, as frustrating and messy as it can be sometimes, still represents the best hope for freedom and prosperity for any society,” he said, reminding them that the American people that they served were “good” and “decent.”

“Obviously, democracy can be contentious,” he continued. “There are times where people have deep, principled disagreements. But I hope that events like today remind us that ultimately we’re all on the same team — and that’s the American team.”

According to the White House pool report, Speaker Nancy Pelosi attended the picnic, after Obama met with pro-trade Democrats earlier in the afternoon.

Obama also flattered the congressional attendees and their baseball skills after his surprise visit to annual Congressional baseball game at National’s Stadium.

“I do want to also say how wildly impressed I was at the quality of baseball when I went out to Nat Stadium the other day,” he said. “You guys actually looked like you knew what you were doing!”

Obama made his way through the crowd after his remarks, but warned them in advance that: “I can’t do a selfie with everybody.”

“How about a kiss?” someone in the audience shouted back.

“A kiss I can give you,” he replied with a grin.