Andy Richter – yes, the comedian/Conan sidekick Andy Richter – started a bit of a Twitter thing with this Tweet this morning:
Just heard that NONE of the major GOP figures invited to participate in today’s MOW 50th anniversary chose to attend. Wow. #MOW50
— Andy Richter (@AndyRichter) August 28, 2013
Because we weren’t sure of Mr. Richter’s sources, we checked it out. It may be that he’s actually correct, when it comes to GOP elected officials — at least four Republicans who were invited declined the invitation, for differing reasons.
We know the former Presidents Bush both were invited but cited health concerns in declining. Former President George W. Bush released a written statement this morning applauding Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
The top two Republicans in the House were also invited, but neither is attending the ceremonies, their offices have confirmed to ABC News.
The only African American serving in the Senate, Republican Tim Scott, wasn’t invited to partake in the festivities today, a spokesman confirmed to ABC News. Scott was appointed to the U.S. Senate seat representing South Carolina earlier this year after Sen. Jim Demint left to head the Heritage Foundation.
House Speaker John Boehner was invited to participate, but with Congress – and Boehner — out of town on recess this week, he chose to speak at the congressional ceremony marking the 50th anniversary last month. Boehner’s office also points out that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also spoke at that ceremony but weren’t in attendance today.
The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., released this statement: “Our press office was sent a request to speak 12 days ago. The Leader is travelling in North Dakota and Ohio today. But I do point you to a piece he wrote for Yahoo yesterday.”
Prominent Democratic officials at today’s ceremony included President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
A spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate minority leader was not invited. He also participated in the congressional event — and was actually on the Capitol steps for King’s original speech in 1963, as a congressional intern.