With Speaker Nancy Pelosi boldly pulling off a Hawaii vacation during the partial government shutdown with little media fanfare, 30 Democratic members of Congress surely gave little thought to taking part in a winter retreat in Puerto Rico.
The lawmakers, their families and lobbyists traveled to the Caribbean island over the weekend to attend the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC gathering in San Juan, according to Fox News. This coming amid a shutdown that has no end in sight and the party embracing federal employees not receiving paychecks to gain a PR edge over President Donald Trump, who is determined to shore up border security.
The agenda included a special performance of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton,” not that the Democrats didn’t tack on a working element to give the appearance of official business, with a planned meeting with Puerto Rican officials to discuss Hurricane Maria cleanup efforts.
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) January 12, 2019
Not that there wasn’t time for a little fun in the sun — the gathering took place at a seaside resort where rooms run around $429 a night, Fox News reported.
While it’s not clear who the 30 Democrats attending are, the guest list appears to be a tightly guarded secret, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was spotted on the beach talking with a bikini babe.
Spotted: Sen. Bob Menendez on the beach at a resort in Puerto Rico on Day 22 of the partial government shutdown. Reports say dozens of Dems are in PR for the CHC BOLD PAC winter retreat — including meetings on Maria cleanup, and a party with PR’s “Hamilton” cast. pic.twitter.com/6FaBYKPo4L
— David McAlpine (@DavidMcAlpine) January 12, 2019
The photo brings to mind the media reaction when former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was caught on a state beach while it was closed to the public during a state budget standoff in 2017 that resulted in a government shutdown.
…with the reaction to the Democratic senator paling in comparison.
But don’t worry, the Democrats are “closely monitoring” events and will brush off the sand and rush back to Washington if needed.
“As our Bold PAC members make their way to Puerto Rico for this important weekend — the largest contingency of House Democrats to visit Puerto Rico where they’ll be hearing from Commonwealth and local elected officials about the ongoing recovery efforts — we will be closely monitoring the situation in Washington,” Bold PAC Chair Rep. Tony Cardenas said in a statement, according to Fox News. “If there is any progress by Senate Republicans or the White House to reopen the federal government, then we will act accordingly.”
Conservative actor James Woods was quick to note that Sen. Menendez, fresh off the Justice Department dropping bribery and corruption charges against him, was just having a “conference” — wink, wink — on the beach with a “colleague.”
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) January 12, 2019
Here’s a sampling of other reactions from Twitter:
That woman has more “cottage cheese” on her legs than I do. She may want to invest in swimskirt on her next @DNC vacation during the gov’t shutdown. Nice that @SenatorMenendez could party down during the shutdown. If he doesn’t want to work on – he should resign.
— K (@KaiserBRamesis) January 12, 2019
At least she appears to be over 18.
— Josh (@JoshPSU97) January 13, 2019
If only they were the ones whose pay was held back instead of the people who depend on every dime.
— Jill R XRP (@JillRTeamXRP) January 12, 2019
Great to see Bob working hard for the people of NJ
— Gerard Malamisura (@gmal20) January 12, 2019
They should have cancelled this altogether. Watching them go on these lavish retreats while 800,000 government workers are without a paycheck is disconcerting. Why aren’t they coming to the table to negotiate? @BobMenendezNJ, huh?
— Bernie Sandner (@BernieSandner) January 12, 2019
No this is elite spending their checks and partying as the Govt is shutdown with the president waiting on @HouseDemocrats to come back from vacation. How sickening.
— #AC~RAZORBACK®/ (@1Trump2) January 13, 2019
You can do that after winning your state by 10% even after the voters knew he was corrupt.
— LET’S GO METS! LET’S GO METS! LET’S GO METS! (@Theonlykon) January 12, 2019
Taking care of business. Must be nice to make tons of money and not have to work for it.
— Proud2BAmerican (@BrevityisBest) January 12, 2019
Pay the lady, Bob
— Beau Stack (@BeauStack) January 12, 2019
Sen. Bob Menendez on the beach at a resort in Puerto Rico on Day 22 of the partial government shutdown. pic.twitter.com/AQsm1ekeBW
— twitte10 (@twitte102) January 13, 2019