The White House said it was "disappointed" in some mayors who skipped a bipartisan meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday, calling the boycott a "political stunt."
Several mayors, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D.), skipped the meeting after the Justice Department continued its fight against "sanctuary cities" by sending letters to 23 cities calling for compliance with federal immigration laws.
De Blasio, a vocal opponent of Trump, tweeted, "I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values."
I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 24, 2018
Landrieu, who is president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told reporters, "An attack on one of our cities' mayors who is following the Constitution is an attack on all of us. I will not be attending that meeting."
"We are disappointed that a number of mayors have chosen to make a political stunt instead of participating in an important discussion with the President and his administration," the White House said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. "President Trump is committed to tackling the challenges facing this country and looks forward to visiting with a large bi-partisan group of mayors that represent both rural and urban municipalities."
According to CNN, Trump briefly referenced the boycott at the meeting, and he noted the more than 100 mayors who did attend. The confab centered on the opioid epidemic and infrastructure.
"The mayors who chose to boycott this event have put needs of criminal illegal immigrants over law-abiding Americans, but let me tell you, the vast majority of people showed up," Trump said, getting applause.
One of de Blasio's constituents, New York Rep. Dan Donovan (R.), was unimpressed with the mayor's actions.
"After Senate Democrats shut down the government, prioritizing an unrelated issue over paychecks for our troops, Democratic mayors are now refusing to even speak to the President on another unrelated issue: infrastructure," Donovan said in a statement. "Democratic Mayors were scheduled to meet with the President today to discuss badly-needed infrastructure investments, but they pulled out after the Department of Justice sent them a letter about sanctuary cities."
"Firstly, enforcing the law of the land is the executive branch’s Constitutional duty – it’s not ‘racist,’ as some have said," he added. "Secondly, I don’t think it’s the right strategy to refuse to even meet with the President on a topic of such importance because of an unrelated matter. I’m sure I’ll get a request down the road to help the City of New York secure federal assistance, and these unproductive antics don’t make my job any easier."
Among the other mayors not attending was Denver's Michael Hancock (D.) and Burnsville, Minn.'s Elizabeth Kautz (R.).