Chatfield had White House meeting

House Speaker Lee Chatfield speaks at the auto insurance reform bill signing, May 30, 2019 | Andrew Roth
Updated 5:18 p.m.

OXON HILL, Md. — State House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) visited Washington, D.C., over the weekend for several meetings, including one at the White House, although the specific nature of the meetings is unclear.

Republican House Speaker Lee Chatfield
Lee Chatfield | Nick Manes photo

An Advance reporter encountered Chatfield and his chief of staff Rob Minard on Sunday afternoon as they departed a boat at National Harbor, an entertainment district along the Potomac River in Maryland about 10 miles south of Washington, D.C. 

Chatfield, dressed casually in khaki shorts, a pink polo shirt and Ray-Ban sunglasses, told the Advance he was in the area for a “couple meetings,” but offered no further details. Chatfield and Minard then went to have lunch at Rosa Mexicano, a Mexican chain restaurant in Oxon Hill.* 

Chatfield spokesman Gideon D’Assandro declined on Monday to discuss what the Washington meetings were in regard to, or whether they were in Chatfield’s official capacity as House speaker. 

“I can tell you he had several meetings around town, including with the White House,” D’Assandro wrote in a text message. 

A White House spokesman did not respond to a request for further comment. 

Chatfield will be term-limited from the House at the end of 2020 and so far has given no indication of his plans after that. He has, however, been on the radar of President Donald Trump. 

U.S. President Donald Trump, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence looking on, delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on February 5, 2019 | Doug Mills, Pool/Getty Images

During the January federal government shutdown Chatfield invited Trump to hold the State of the Union in the Michigan Capitol, which Trump declined.

Chatfield has previously made clear that he sees at least part of his role as House speaker to serve as an example to leaders in Washington. 

“I want to do everything I can to assist those in Washington in getting their act together,” Chatfield told the Advance in a January interview.

*This story was updated to reflect the actual Rosa Mexicano location.

Nick Manes
Nick Manes covers West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels. His byline also has appeared in Route Fifty and The Daily Beast. When not reporting around the state or furiously tweeting, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Krista, biking around his hometown of Grand Rapids and torturing himself rooting for the Detroit Lions.


  1. The guy who couldn’t remember he had a loaded, unregistered handgun in his home with little children during a birthday party and — later the same day a year ago next month — at an airport TSA checkpoint. Says he’s in favor of more MI govt. “transparency” but, in all likelihood, won’t tell you who paid for this trip. Or the trip (the whole family!) to the White House Easter egg event a few month ago. Or, last summer, the trip to DC for the Value Voters Summit. Shhh! Don’t ask; don’t tell:


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