Incoming governors visit White House

Tennessee’s gubernatorial election winner, Republican Bill Lee, was among a group of more than a dozen new voter-endorsed state-level chief executives from around the country to meet with President Donald Trump this week.

Lee and 21 other incoming governors were invited the the White House for the Dec. 13 gathering — although eight Democrats were no-shows, according to news reports.

During the meeting, Lee sat between Democratic Michigan Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer and Vice President Mike Pence, who served as GOP governor of Indiana from 2013 to 2017.

When his time came to introduce himself to the president, Lee said he was “honored” to be in the room with Trump and the vice president, and that he looks forward to “serving the people of Tennessee and partnering with you.”

Trump responded, “Fantastic race — you did a great job.”

Lee, a wealthy Tennessee businessman, earned Trump’s endorsement after he bested a crowded field of GOP candidates for governor in the August 2 primary.

“Congratulations to Bill Lee of Tennessee on his big primary win for Governor last night,” Trump tweeted on Aug. 3. “He ran a great campaign and now will finish off the job in November. Bill has my total and enthusiastic Endorsement!”

Lee went on in the general election to defeat the Democrat’s candidate, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, by 20 points and more than 470,000 votes, 59 percent to 39 percent.