The Buzz

Blunt was disinvited to event after vote against Trump. Now he can go — but he’s busy

The local Republican Party official who told Sen. Roy Blunt not to come to a GOP event in Southern Missouri now says he’s now welcome to come.

It doesn’t matter. Blunt already has plans.

The Missouri Republican will speak at the Camden County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day event on April 6, according to his office.

That takes place the same day as a GOP gathering in Christian County. Blunt, the No. 4 Republican in the U.S. Senate, who has deep ties to Southern Missouri, had been invited to the county party’s Lincoln/Trump Day dinner.

But the invitation was withdrawn after he became one of 12 Senate Republicans to join Democrats in passing a resolution disapproving of President Donald Trump’s use of emergency powers for construction of a border wall.

“I don’t want to see you and I am the Events Chair,” wrote Wanda Martens, a member of the Christian County Republican Central Committee who is married to the group’s chairman, Walt Martens.

The email was first reported by The Star Monday. Blunt was on a congressional trip to Afghanistan at the time.

Martens told the Springfield News-Leader the following day that she was unaware that Blunt had already been invited by another member of the central committee when she sent her email lambasting the senator.

“He’s welcome to come,” she said. “I’m not going to go out of my way to re-invite him; I don’t know if he’ll come or not.”

Chuck Branch, the committee member who invited Blunt, said in an email that he would leave it up to Martens and her husband to re-invite the senator. Martens could not be reached by phone Wednesday morning.

Blunt opposed Trump’s decision to build the long-promised border wall through emergency powers because he said it would create a precedent that could be exploited by Democratic presidents in the future to enact gun control or environmental regulations.

Thom Wyatt, the president of the Camden County Republican Club, said Blunt’s vote on the resolution has generated a lot of hostility among Missouri Republicans, but he said the one vote should be weighed against Blunt’s entire record. Blunt has voted with the president roughly 95 percent of the time, Wyatt noted.

“We don’t want to be close-minded. We definitely want to hear what he has to say,” Wyatt said. “That’s our goal is to hear everybody.”

Lindsay Wise contributed to this report.
Bryan Lowry covers Kansas and Missouri politics as Washington correspondent for The Kansas City Star. He previously served as Kansas statehouse correspondent for The Wichita Eagle and as The Star’s lead political reporter. Lowry contributed to The Star’s investigation into government secrecy that was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize.
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