Top line: no remarks from VP on news of the day.
Pool was escorted at 5:46pm into the Vice President's Ceremonial Office for a reception celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Guests were offered a buffet of fruit, cheese, crackers, crudités and greeted by Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Acting Assistant Secretary Susan Thornton, who opened with "Aloha", "Konnichiwa" and "Namaste."
Ms Thornton noted in the audience ambassador Julia Chang Bloch and introduced Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma to make other remarks.
Ms. Verma talked about growing up in the United States as a second generation immigrant from India where nobody around her looked like her and people asked her her tribe, her parents' arrival in the U.S. from India and her mother ruining silk saris she brought with her by putting them in an American washing machine, and people who had helped her family settle in. She said people now asked her which part of India her family was from, and knew India for yoga, and meditation, "which I can say I haven't done much of" lately. She joked about her own father's criticism of her 95% score on a test and her son's announcement of an 89% on a math test dubbed by her daughter as an "Asian fail", said that her presence in the White House was proof of American immigrants' ability to succeed and then introduced Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
"This administration has recognized our contributions," Ms Chao said. "Our community has been able to thrive in mainstream America because we share many of the same values," she said, before introducing the Vice President.
Mr. Pence said he brought greetings and gratitude from the president for the community's contribution to American life. He referred to his and his wife's recent Asian trip, offered his own praise for AAPI contributions to the economy, churches, charities and universities and said they did and would continue to make America great again. He also talked about his own Irish immigrant grandfather. "It's that story of America, coming from the east and the west," he said. "That's the story of my little family and the story of the families gathered here tonight." "Your success is America's success." "So today I say with confidence our future is bright," he said, concluding with another reference to making America great again. Remarks concluded at 6.10pm and the VP was hustled out without making comments on the headlines that broke while we were in here.