ST. PAUL (AP) -- Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz declined an invitation to join a bipartisan group of new governors in a meeting with President Donald Trump, drawing some criticism from Republicans.

The six-term Democratic congressman stayed in Minnesota this week to meet with transition staff and advisers, even as his counterparts from South Dakota, Wisconsin and other Midwestern states visited the White House.

Walz has criticized Trump's handling of veterans issues, but spokeswoman Kayla Castaneda says political disagreements had nothing to do with Walz not going to Washington. She says he is ``busy building the executive branch.''

Trump invited governors-elect to meet him and members of his Cabinet for a discussion on various topics including workforce development, infrastructure and the opioid crisis. Minnesota House Republican leaders criticized Walz for skipping the meeting.