President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met Thursday with members of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans who are largely opposed to the proposed Obamacare replacement bill.
What stood out for many, however, about a photo Pence tweeted from the event was the group’s stunning lack of diversity.
Among the issues the group discussed was removing “essential health benefits” from the list of services that every health plan must cover. Those items include pregnancy, maternity and health care, hospitalization, pediatric services and mental health and substance use disorder services.
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., retweeted Pence’s photo, calling it “a rare look inside the GOP women’s health caucus.”
She was not the only one to respond to the all-male photo on social media.
There is no official list of members of the House Freedom Caucus, which is chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, and believed to have between 30 and 40 unofficial members. No women are known members of the caucus, which counts Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina, among its most prominent members.
There are currently 237 Republicans in the House, a figure that does not include four vacant seats that were held by Republicans who have resigned to take positions in the Trump administration. There are 21 Republican women in the House of Representatives. There are 62 Democratic women in the House. There are 21 women in the Senate – 16 Democrats and five Republicans.
Earlier in the day, Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas apologized after saying that he “wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms.” Roberts later tweeted that, “I deeply regret my comments on a very important topic. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise.”