From: "Diaz, Kevin B"
Date: February 26, 2017 at 8:08:10 PM EST
Subject: in town pool report 1: NGA WH dinner
After a quiet day at the WH marked by 4 @realdonaldtrump tweets (DNC chair race “rigged;”nytimes ad; Russia talk=”fake news;” looking forward to healthcare talk with govs) our pool was let into the Palm Room at 7:23 pm for an event billed as ”The PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY host the Governor’s Ball.”
Trump’s tweet called it a “dinner,” which is what it appeared to be, as the State Dining was packed with tables to accommodate a record 46 governors and their spouses or guests. All tables were set with long white candles and white floral centerpieces.
Pool was let in at 7:27 pm, and VP Pence and wife Karen were introduced one minute later.
Potus and the First Lady were introduced another minute later to the beginning strains of “Hail to the Chief.”
Potus in black tie, Melania in form-fitting long black gown.
She took a seat at the center table, while Potus began to speak at a ceremonial black and gold dais set up by the unlit fireplace.
Potus congratulated the First Lady, “for having done a really beautiful job.”
He also recognized Pence and his wife.,
“I can say that after four weeks, it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “We’ve accomplished almost everything we set out to accomplish. The borders are stricter….”
“There are some big problems in the world, you know that very well. But we’re very happy with the way things are working. We’ve made a lot of promises over the last two years and many of those promises already are kept. So we’re very honored by that.”
He recognized the governors: “Such an easy job you have.” (laughter)
Said he looked forward to meetings with governors on Monday, saying “perhaps health care will come up.”
On Obamacare repeal and replace: “I think you’re going to see something very, very special.”
(See WH transcript for full remarks)
Potus toast: “I would like to toast the great, great governors of the United States.”
He then invited VA Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe (“a friend of mine”) NGA chairman to the dais for remarks “from the other side.”
McAuliffe joked that he gets partial credit for “largest crowd ever” at an NGA White House dinner.
“In the spirit of bipartisanship, sir, we will both take credit….”
McAuliffe said “We have a common goal: We are the greatest nation in the globe, and I want to toast you, Mr. President, and to say we want to work with you to build on those ideals…”
Pool was ushered out at 7:37 pm
Somewhere else, the Academy Awards were going on…
Expecting a lid around 8:30
Houston Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers