New footage has emerged of congressional Democrats enjoying a swanky cocktail party in Puerto Rico in the midst of the partial government shutdown.
The oddly timed trip was first reported over the weekend. But footage obtained by Fox News gives a behind-the-scenes look at one of the island soirees, where at least three California Democrats can be seen gabbing with guests at the Sereno Sand Patio at La Concha Hotel, in San Juan.
Reps. Gil Cisneros, Pete Aguilar, and Mike Levin were filmed at the party organized by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC and heavily attended by lobbyists. The evening event was billed as a “cocktail reception and dinner.”
The trip took place at a fancy seaside resort with rooms costing more than $400 a night. The congressmen also planned to see a special performance of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton,” though they had to buy the tickets themselves.
The memo on the trip to Puerto Rico named over 100 lobbyists and corporate executives, some from Washington firms, R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association.
The offices of Cisneros, Aguilar, or Levin did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
More than 30 Democratic members of Congress who traveled to Puerto Rico were called out by Republicans and President Trump, who criticized the timing of the trip.
“I’ve been here all weekend,” Trump told reporters. “A lot of the Democrats were in Puerto Rico celebrating something. I don’t know, maybe they’re celebrating the shutdown.”
“We have a very big crisis, a humanitarian crisis on the border. Everybody knows it, they know it."
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also criticized the Democrats, saying they “are so alarmed about federal workers not getting paid they’re partying on the beach instead of negotiating a compromise to reopen the government and secure the border.”
Republican rising-star Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas questioned the timing of the trip.
“It sounds like they had a lot of fun. They've also been talking a lot about the plight that federal workers see themselves in," Crenshaw said on “The Story”. “They're not wrong about that, but if we're gonna talk about that then I don't know if these excursions to Puerto Rico are really the right way to handle that. We should be negotiating.”
Trump, meanwhile, has been roundly blamed by Democrats for the shutdown. They fault him for insisting on billions for a border wall, and have urged him to support bills opening the government to no avail.
The BOLD PAC has been largely mum on which Democrats attended the trip, but it has since emerged that New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, were also present. The participation of Aguilar and Cisneros wasn’t previously reported.
A picture of Menendez on the beach particularly irked the senator, who lashed out against Fox News for publishing it.
“You could have had hours and hours and hours of meetings, and you chose one thing for an hour," Menendez said of the shirtless beach picture that made the rounds.
Some Democrats also defended the trip. Bold PAC Chair and Rep. Tony Cardenas promised that the trip wouldn't interfere with their responsibilities, saying at the time of the trip that they would closely monitor the situation in Washington. “If there is any progress by Senate Republicans or the White House to reopen the federal government, then we will act accordingly,” he said in a statement.
Henry R. Muñoz, the finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) told the Washington Post that the criticism over the trip was “insulting.”
“Nobody would get angry if 30 Congress members went to Kansas, or to Arkansas, or to Texas,” he said. “It’s insulting, and there’s an accent on the insult.”