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Lynch declines invitation to meet with Trump officials

South Boston Democratic Representative Stephen F. Lynch.
South Boston Democratic Representative Stephen F. Lynch. (John Tlumacki/Globe Staff/File)

WASHINGTON -- Representative Stephen F. Lynch is declining an invitation to meet with President Trump’s top congressional aides, saying he sees little benefit in cooperating with a White House he views as extreme.

The South Boston Democrat is among those who received a formal invitation to meet next week with Trump’s director of legislative affairs, Marc Short, as the White House makes a renewed push to cultivate moderate Democrats.

“I was asked if I would be interested in going over to the White House for a meeting,” Lynch said in a statement to the Globe. “They said they were looking for ‘moderate’ Democrats – which I am. But under the circumstances I felt like they were trying to divide our party so I declined the invitation.”

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“My feeling is that the Trump White House has taken a ‘scorched earth’ approach so far,” he added. “I am usually someone who looks for middle ground, but Mr. Trump’s opening position, especially as reflected in his budget, has been so extreme that there is no middle ground. It’s a non-starter for me.”

While on the House floor a few weeks ago, Lynch was approached by Representative Bruce Poliquin, a Republican from Maine, according to a Lynch aide.

Poliquin said that the White House was interested in meeting with moderate Democrats. Lynch’s office on Monday received a formal invitation for the meeting, which he has now declined.

Poliquin’s office did not respond to a request for comment about the meeting, or whether other Democrats are planning to attend. White House aides did not respond to a request for comment.

Lynch is the most conservative member of the Massachusetts delegation, and has in the past shown a willingness to buck Democratic Party lines. In 2010, he was one of the few to vote against final passage of President Obama’s health care bill.

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Matt Viser can be reached at matt.viser@globe.com.