Government & Politics

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens attends Trump bill signing, meets with Vice President Mike Pence

Gov. Eric Greitens (left) and Vice President Mike Pence posed for a photo on Monday.
Gov. Eric Greitens (left) and Vice President Mike Pence posed for a photo on Monday.

Gov. Eric Greitens never got the personal meeting with President Donald Trump this weekend that the governor’s staff announced last week.

But his two-day trip to the nation’s capital did include a speech to pro-Israel donors, a bill signing ceremony in the White House and a sit-down with the vice president and members of the president’s Cabinet.

On Sunday, the governor spoke at the conference of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Greitens is Missouri’s first Jewish governor, and his speech was part of an off-the-record event attended by 700 of the group’s donors.

On Monday, he was part of a group that got to watch Trump sign four bills reversing regulations implemented by former President Barack Obama.

Among the regulations voided by Trump on Monday was one aimed at forcing government contractors to disclose violations of wage, labor or workplace safety laws. Two regulations pertained to school performance and teacher training, and another on climate change and land use.

Greitens’ press secretary, Parker Briden, said last week that the governor was traveling to Washington to meet with federal officials, including President Trump, to “discuss our priorities in Missouri.”

But a private meeting between Trump and Greitens was not listed on the president’s official schedule or mentioned in White House press pool reports over the weekend or on Monday. On Tuesday, the governor confirmed he never met with Trump.

Greitens said on Facebook that his trip did include a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin to discuss making Missouri “the finest home for veterans and their families in the country.”

The governor’s spokesman said Greitens also met with Trump’s nominee for secretary of agriculture, Sonny Perdue, and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Greitens, a first-term Republican governor, has made four trips to Washington, D.C., since taking office.

His first was to attend Trump’s inauguration. A few weeks later he returned to attend the glitzy Alfalfa Club dinner, a gala described by the Washington Post as “the most insidery bastion of inside Washington.” Last month he returned to D.C. for conferences of the National Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association.

Jason Hancock: 573-634-3565, @J_Hancock