President Donald Trump talks about making way for year-round E15 during his rally in Council Bluffs. Kelsey Kremer, [email protected]
Rep. Cindy Axne said the White House rescinded an invitation for the Iowa congresswoman to join President Donald Trump on a Tuesday tour of a renewable energy facility in Council Bluffs.
A senior White House official vehemently denied the Democratic congresswoman's claim, arguing Axne wasn't invited on the tour in the first place.
The Des Moines Register obtained documentation of an invitation the White House sent to Axne to visit the facility, but it makes no reference to a tour with the president.
Axne on Tuesday sent a letter to Trump, accusing staff for his administration of stopping her from attending the tour.
"Unfortunately, officials in your administration prevented my attendance on the tour of the ethanol production facility with you. It appears that they chose politics over progress, inviting only local Republican elected officials and excluding the sole Democrat," she wrote.
The back-and-forth between the offices began unfolding Monday, when Axne's staff sent a news release announcing the congresswoman had accepted a White House invitation from the White House to join Trump for a tour of Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs.
Madeleine Russak, an Axne spokeswoman, said a White House official later contacted her and said only statewide officials had been invited on the tour, and that Axne had been given a general admission ticket to watch Trump speak to a group of guests at the facility.
Sen. Joni Ernst and Gov. Kim Reynolds, both Republicans, along with other Republican officials from Iowa and Nebraska, are joining Trump for the tour.
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The senior White House official, who would not speak on the record, said Tuesday in response to Axne's claim: "Congresswoman Axne was invited to attend the president’s remarks in Council Bluffs today, and such invite was never rescinded. It’s unfortunate that she is choosing to spend her time in the D.C. swamp while the president shows true leadership and appreciation for our nation’s agriculture community in Iowa.”
Emails obtained by the Des Moines Register show a staffer for Axne's office emailed a White House official on June 9 and wrote, in part: "I'm reaching out today to see if the congresswoman will be receiving an invitation to the ethanol plant tour with the president next week."
On June 10, a White House official responded, in part: "You should be getting an email this afternoon from our folks with an invite. Let me know if you have any questions, thanks."
A copy of the invitation sent to Axne's office the Register obtained confirmed her attendance at Trump's remarks at the energy facility but makes no reference to a tour.
The renewable energy facility is located within Axne's 3rd Congressional District, which includes 16 counties in central and southwest Iowa. In her Monday news release, Axne said she had planned to thank Trump for finalizing year-round access to gasoline with higher blends of ethanol. She had also planned to thank Trump for signing a roughly $19 billion disaster aid package that has money for Iowa communities impacted by flooding.
Axne's letter to Trump requests a meeting with the president in Washington. She said she wants to discuss issues including the impact of escalating tariffs on farmers.