The White House reacted to reports today that it snubbed Latino Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) by turning down his request to travel to Miami on Air Force One for the president’s town hall speech.
“In this case we were unable to accommodate the Congressman’s request,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained to members of the press on Air Force One. “But we typically try to do so when we can.”
Earnest referred to the White House “standard practice” to invite the member of congress from the district when traveling to another part of the country. That member was Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), a representative of a district including Miami Gardens, a suburb of Miami.
Curbelo was invited to the event, according to the Miami Herald, but could not attend.
“They said, ‘Sorry, there’s no space on the plane for you,'” Curbelo told the Miami Herald, referring to the White House.
The president traditionally takes a few members of Congress any time he travels, and the cabin features seating specifically for their use. Traditionally, the president spends some time in the cabin speaking to members who join him for travel around the country.
According to the White House, California’s Latino Democrat Rep. Linda Sanchez, a champion for immigration reform, did get permission to travel with Wilson to Florida for the town hall event.
Curbelo will not attend the town hall, citing difficulty making travel arrangements without missing key votes in the House.