(WASHINGTON) — Andy Richter – yes, the comedian/Conan O’Brien sidekick Andy Richter – started a bit of a Twitter thing with this tweet Wednesday morning:
“Just heard that NONE of the major GOP figures invited to participate in today’s MOW 50th anniversary chose to attend. Wow. #MOW50,” read the tweet posted to Richter’s account.
Because Richter’s sources were unclear, ABC News checked it out. It may be that he’s actually correct when it comes to GOP elected officials — at least four Republicans who were invited declined the invitation, for differing reasons.
We know the former Presidents Bush both were invited but cited health concerns in declining. Former President George W. Bush released a written statement Wednesday morning applauding Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
The top two Republicans in the House were also invited, but neither is attending the ceremonies, their offices have confirmed to ABC News.
House Speaker John Boehner was invited to participate, but with Congress — and Boehner — out of town on recess this week, he chose to speak at the congressional ceremony marking the 50th anniversary last month. Boehner’s office also points out that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also spoke at that ceremony but weren’t in attendance Wednesday.
The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., released this statement: “Our press office was sent a request to speak 12 days ago. The Leader is traveling in North Dakota and Ohio today. But I do point you to a piece he wrote for Yahoo yesterday.”
Prominent Democratic officials at Wednesday’s ceremony included President Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former President Jimmy Carter, Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
A spokesman for Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate minority leader was not invited. He also participated in the congressional event — and was actually on the Capitol steps for King’s original speech in 1963, as a congressional intern.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Marissa Morrison, KIVI
Gregory Krieg, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune