Gov. David Ige found common ground with President Donald Trump on Thursday during a working lunch at the White House to discuss issues relating to workforce development, occupational licensing laws and child care policies.
The luncheon was attended by several governors, both Democratic and Republican, and members of the Trump administration, including Ivanka Trump, who has served as an adviser to her father on workforce issues.
Ige thanked Trump for providing disaster aid for Hawaii during the meeting, which was streamed on C-SPAN.
“As you know, we’ve had a challenging year in 2018, and we definitely appreciate it,” Ige said, a reference to torrential rainfall that caused severe flooding on parts of Kauai and Oahu in April 2018, Tropical Storm Lane and the eruption of Kilauea on Hawaii island.
>> For more photos see ‘Trump meets with David Ige, other governors at White House’
“Well, we got it done,” said Trump. “It was a tough one, actually, but we got it done.”
Ige also briefed the president on Hawaii initiatives that dovetail with priorities of the Trump administration, including expanding apprenticeship programs in health care and technology and supporting programs that help incarcerated people find jobs after they’re released.
“We are pursuing second chance and criminal justice reform as well, investing in prison industry programs, trying to ensure that those, at the time that they end their incarceration, have quality job skills so they can hit the job running as well,” said Ige, who was seated between White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Ige has clashed with Trump over the years on a multitude of issues, with Hawaii joining other states in suing the Trump administration over policies relating to the president’s travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries, immigration, abortion and funding for Trump’s border wall.
Reached by phone, Ige told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that the meeting showcased bipartisan areas of agreement.
“I do think that we see eye to eye on our commitment to get Americans working,” he said. “It was about how can we prepare for the workplace of the future.”
Pressed about the menu, Ige said the White House served a salad with shrimp and grilled chicken breast with french fries.
“But it wasn’t McDonald’s french fries — it was White House french fries,” said Ige, noting that the fries were made from real potatoes as they still had the skin on. He said iced tea and water were offered as beverages, and there was no dessert.
Trump, known for liking fast food, caused a stir earlier this year when he served burgers from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King to the visiting Clemson Tigers football team.