Fox host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that “no Republicans and no conservatives were invited” to participate in attend the anniversary of the March on Washington. Several prominent Republicans were invited, but chose not to attend.
On the August 28 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly hosted Democratic strategist James Carville to discuss the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. During the discussion, O'Reilly complained that President George W. Bush was not invited to speak. O'Reilly later claimed that "[n]o Republicans and no conservatives were invited." O'Reilly went on to respond to Rep. John Lewis' statement that “we're all in the same boat” by asking “Where's the conservative side to that boat?”
Contrary to what O'Reilly said on-air, several Republicans were invited to participate in the event, including both President George W. Bush and President George H. W. Bush. Both declined due to health concerns. According to ABC News, both Republican House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Whip Eric Cantor were invited to attend but did not do so with their offices citing scheduling conflicts:
House Speaker John Boehner was invited to participate, but with Congress - and Boehner -- out of town on recess this week, he chose to speak at the congressional ceremony marking the 50th anniversary last month. Boehner's office also points out that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also spoke at that ceremony but weren't in attendance today.
The office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., released this statement: “Our press office was sent a request to speak 12 days ago. The Leader is travelling in North Dakota and Ohio today. But I do point you to a piece he wrote for Yahoo yesterday.”