House Democrats are planning a star-studded party retreat in Baltimore next week with guests including President Obama, Vice President Biden and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah.
The high-profile guest list is a departure for the typically low-key annual party gatherings. Democrats and Republicans typically hold a three-day meeting somewhere outside of Washington during the second half of January. The retreats are intended to get all members on the same page before any big legislative fights can begin, even if it means braving the tail end of a massive snow storm.
“The weather’s not going to get in the way of Democrats coming together,” said House Democratic Chair Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) in an email. “We know we have some work ahead of us but what’s important is to really let
people know that we can make opportunity a reality.”
The retreat’s theme — “uniting for opportunity” — is meant to emphasize a unified party approach to a potentially long and difficult election year ahead. The gathering comes as Democrats are preparing to ride out Obama’s final year in office while enduring a primary fight for the party’s nominee to replace him.
The meeting will be held days before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus on the home turf of Martin O’Malley, who previously served as both Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor. Democrats have also invited AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer.
Noah should provide some comic relief among Democrats just ahead of the contentious primary fight starring Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).
Since taking over for Jon Stewart, Noah has maintained much of the popular Comedy Central show’s progressive tone. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be easy on Democrats. The 31-year-old South African native is not shy about skewering the American political system.
Democrats might want to be on best behavior lest they end up in an embarrassing segment.