According to Punchbowl News, multiple House Democrats decided to skip the speech that President Joe Biden recently gave at their conference.
The House Democrats, apparently, thought that a Joni Mitchell concert was more important.
The 11 absentees
Punchbowl News reports that “a healthy contingent of House Democrats hung back in D.C. last night and skipped Biden’s speech.” Instead, according to the outlet, they went “to the Gershwin Awards’ Joni Mitchell concert at D.A.R. Concert Hall.”
The outlet goes on to identify 11 House Democrats who chose the Joni Mitchell concert over Biden’s speech. The list includes:
Reps. Maxwell Frost (D-FL), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Mark Takano (D-CA), Andy Kim (D-NJ), Katie Porter (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), Hillary Scholten (D-MI) and Greg Casar (D-TX).
These House Democrats were not the only members of Congress at the concert. They were joined by several Senate Democrats, including U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Jack Reed (D-RI). And, they were also joined by some Republicans, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (D-CA).
It’s worth noting, though, that most of the Democratic caucus did attend Biden’s speech.
What did they miss?
On Wednesday night, Biden spoke at the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference that was held in Baltimore. Biden covered a wide range of issues, and he generally sought to tout his record.
A notable moment occurred during the speech that has earned Biden much criticism. It came as he attempted to target U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) for comments she made in which she pinned blame on the Biden administration for not securing the U.S.-Mexico border, thereby allowing fentanyl to continue to be smuggled.
Greene’s criticism came after a recent congressional hearing in which a woman named Rebecca Kiessling revealed that her two sons died on July 29, 2020, as the result of fentanyl poisoning. And, here’s where Biden got himself in trouble: he was caught laughing while discussing Kiessling’s situation.
Yesterday, a mom who lost her two sons to fentanyl poisoning told her story.
Today, Biden laughed about it. pic.twitter.com/USEbe4Ouhe
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 2, 2023
The White House has since tried to clean up the situation for Biden.
A key question
One question that has to be asked is whether the House Democrats’ decision to skip Biden’s speech is what we should expect going forward, particularly with regard to 2024.
Biden is expected to seek reelection despite the fact that not all Democrats – either Democratic congress members or Democratic voters – appear to be on board with Biden seeking a second term.
This begs the question: how many Democrats are going to skip or even oppose Biden’s 2024 campaign? Time will tell.