Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will skip President Obama's speech Thursday night, in a move that draws attention to the labor union controversy in his home state.
DeMint plans to meet with Boeing officials and employees in Charleston on Thursday night, according to a press release from his office.
“I’m excited to meet with folks in South Carolina who are creating jobs and moving our economy forward, not just talking about it,” DeMint said in a statement.
Earlier in the week, DeMint said he doubted he would attend the speech if Obama did not present his jobs plan in writing to Congress in advance.
"If he sent a written proposal over first, I would go hear him explain it. Frankly, right now I am so frustrated I don't think I'm going to go," DeMint told ABC News on Monday.
Boeing recently built a new facility to construct 787-model planes in South Carolina. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is suing the company for the move, which the board charges was retaliation for union strikes at Boeing's plant in Washington state.
DeMint plans to tour his state's new plant on Thursday as well.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has pressed for Obama to address the ongoing NLRB case. "The president needs to speak up," Haley said Wednesday on Fox News. "He has been unbelievably silent. And either he needs to say he is for this union bullying or he is not for it. But he cannot be silent and still go before a joint assembly of Congress tomorrow and say he wants to talk about jobs."
DeMint joins several other Republican lawmakers who have announced they will not attend the speech, including Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBiden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Bottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic MORE (R-La.).
According to his office, DeMint will speak at the 2011 National Speakers Conference in South Carolina on Friday.