Donald Trump hosted 46 of the nation’s governors at the annual Governor’s Ball at the White House on Sunday night. One of the four state leaders missing from the first major social event of the Trump administration: Gov. Nathan Deal.
The Georgia Republican, who supported Trump after he locked up the GOP nomination, has largely spurned events in Washington since resigning from Congress in 2010 to run for governor. And the four-day confab organized by the National Governors Association is no different.
Deal joined the association after his election but opted out of the group in 2012, citing the annual $300,000 dues. The governor “opted to keep these state $$$ in GA and not remain a member,” his top aide Chris Riley said in a tweet.
The president is set to meet with the governors Monday at the White House, and quipped at Sunday’s dinner that “perhaps health care will come up.” The effort in Congress to dismantle President Barack Obama’s healthcare law has dominated the discussions at the NGA so far.
"I can say that after four weeks - it's been a lot of fun - but we've accomplished almost everything we've started out to accomplish,” Trump said, adding: “The borders are stricter, tighter."
Deal, who remains a member of the Republican Governors Association, recently joined a call with fellow GOP governors on the healthcare debate. He said he expressed concern that Georgia and other states that refused to expand Medicaid should not be “punished” for their decision.
Trump, meanwhile, met with a handful of governors privately on Friday to discuss how to replace Obamacare. They include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, his once-bitter rival, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who supported Trump’s campaign.