Douglas County commissioners have no interest in ‘publicity stunt’ of White House summit

photo by: Evan Vucci/AP File Photo

In this photo from Oct. 23, 2018, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway curtsies as she is called to the stage by President Donald Trump during the "White House State Leadership Day Conference for Alaska, California, and Hawaii," in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump has been inviting county leaders nationwide to summits at the White House. Douglas County Commission Chair Michelle Derusseau said she did not plan to attend the upcoming “publicity stunt.”

All three county commissioners were invited — along with other representatives from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma — to a “State Leadership Day,” scheduled for Thursday, July 25. None of the three will attend, county spokeswoman Karrey Britt confirmed Tuesday.

The White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs is hosting 10 such events, according to an invitation that commissioners received and that Britt shared with the Journal-World.

The invitation says, “To continue the unprecedented outreach to State and local elected officials,” recipients are invited to the conference “for remarks and discussion with key administration leaders and policymakers.”

photo by: Mackenzie Clark/Journal-World File Photo

Douglas County Commission Chair Michelle Derusseau is pictured in this file photo from the commission’s meeting on March 13, 2019.

During a discussion of miscellaneous items at the end of the Douglas County Commission’s July 10 meeting, Derusseau brought up the summit. She said that other commissioners had contacted her about the event, so she had sought more information about it.

“I think you get a White House tour that morning,” Derusseau said during the meeting. “… It’s really only a three and a half hour meeting with some of Trump’s staff, but there will be 175 other commissioners there from three other states.”

She said it’s not an open forum, and commissioners aren’t guaranteed that they’ll have a chance to ask any questions. Also, she couldn’t find a way for one person to make the trip for less than $1,000 with airfare and hotel.

“I don’t think that’s a very good way to spend our taxpayer dollars, to go spend three and a half hours for a publicity stunt, as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “… I just really didn’t think, for my time or for our money, that it was worth it.”


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