Dem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union

Dem behind impeachment push to boycott State of the Union
© Stefani Reynolds

A House Democrat who has been one of the biggest proponents in Congress to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment MORE announced Tuesday that he will again boycott the State of the Union address.

Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenCongress should make Interior's Bernhardt 'manage the land to stop climate change' The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Sweden: study The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Sweden: study MORE (D-Texas) has never attended a joint address Trump has delivered to Congress. And he has no plans to break that streak this year, even as Democrats now hold the House majority.

That makes Green at least the sixth House Democrat to skip Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

"I have judiciously pursued President Trump’s impeachment. However, because he is still unfit yet still in office, I see no compelling reason to end my protest of this event," Green said in a statement.

Green said that Trump has "harmed our society by making bigotry and invidious discrimination more acceptable across our country." He went on to connect Trump's actions to the ongoing chaos in Virginia after Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam refused to resign over a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page showing two people wearing blackface and a Ku Klux Klan robe.

Green went on to reiterate his call for Northam's resignation. Fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other top Democrats in Congress have also urged Northam to step down.

"To a certain extent, this governor is ostensibly insulated by the refusal of President Trump to resign, coupled with his not being impeached. Allowing a president who exhibits bigotry to remain in office until the next election while demanding that a governor who has exhibited bigotry leave office before the next election is called ‘having a double standard.’ Bigotry, regardless of the source, is unacceptable. Both must go," Green said.

But Green will still have a guest in the House chamber audience even though the lawmaker won't be in attendance. Green invited a relative of Michael Phuong Nguyen, an American currently detained in Vietnam.

“As President Trump prepares to have his second summit with Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, it is imperative that Michael Nguyen is at the forefront of his mind and he does not leave Vietnam without Mr. Nguyen or other Americans detained under questionable circumstances there,” Green said.

Green forced two House floor votes on impeachment in the last session of Congress. Both efforts were defeated due to opposition from both Republicans and Democrats.

Fifty-eight Democrats voted in support of the first vote forced by Green in December 2017, while 66 Democrats voted for it in January 2018.

A total of 14 Democrats boycotted Trump's State of the Union address last year.

But a number of those Democrats are attending this year now that they are in the majority.

Rep. Bobby RushBobby Lee RushChicago reopens dozens of cold cases with aid of computer algorithm WHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises WHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises MORE (D-Ill.), for example, was among the Democrats who skipped Trump's address to Congress last year. This year, however, Rush "wants the president to look out and see the Democratic majority that will serve as a strong Constitutional check on his power,” according to Ryan Johnson, the lawmaker’s communications director.

So did Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksTop Finance Democrat offers bill to end tax breaks for private prison companies Top Finance Democrat offers bill to end tax breaks for private prison companies Criticism punctuates Nadler's leadership of Trump probe MORE (D-N.Y.), who is going this time around.

"This year, Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOcasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown MORE has retaken the gavel as Speaker of the House, and I certainly want the president to see me and my fellow Democrats in the room demonstrating that we in the majority will now serve as that check on this administration," Meeks said in a statement.

But a handful of Democrats are still boycotting Tuesday's State of the Union.

Here are the other Democrats who won't be attending:

Rep. John LewisJohn LewisFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides 2020 Democrats mark three years since Pulse nightclub shooting MORE (Ga.)

Lewis will not attend the speech, his office confirmed to The Hill. He also boycotted Trump's State of the Union last year.

Rep. Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonDemocrats lash out at Trump's bombshell remarks Democrats lash out at Trump's bombshell remarks Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote MORE (Ga.)

“I have a problem with defiling the Speaker’s chair in the House of Representatives,” Johnson told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t want to see it lowered, as is what happens when Donald Trump comes to our floor and starts talking about groups of people, particularly Latinos, and disparaging them as a people.”

“I’d rather be somewhere else,” Johnson added.

Rep. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenJon Stewart excoriates lawmakers for skipping hearing on 9/11 victim fund Jon Stewart excoriates lawmakers for skipping hearing on 9/11 victim fund Democrats begin Mueller hearings with Watergate-era witness MORE (Tenn.)

"I will not attend the State of the Union once again this year. I’ll come to the House Chamber for the State of the Union the next time I can hear from a president who will tell the truth about the State of the Union," Cohen said in a statement to The Hill.

Cohen previously introduced articles of impeachment against Trump in late 2017. But has not reintroduced them yet in the new Congress, citing a desire to wait for the conclusion of the investigation into Russian election interference led by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE.

Cohen also skipped Trump's State of the Union last year.

Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides Ex-GOP lawmakers are face of marijuana blitz MORE (Ore.)

"The thought of spending Tuesday night in the House Chamber listening to the reckless, self-centered man who occupies the White House holds no interest for me. Just like in past years, I plan to skip a speech that will be filled with lies, deception and divisiveness," Blumenauer said in a statement.

Blumenauer invited the executive director of the World Central Kitchen, Nate Mook, to attend as his guest even though he won't be there. World Central Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, has recently provided meals to hurricane victims and federal workers furloughed during the recent partial government shutdown.

Rep. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonOvernight Defense: Iran worries dominate foreign policy talk | Pentagon reportedly to send WH plans for 10K troops in Mideast | Democrats warn Trump may push through Saudi arms sale | Lawmakers blast new Pentagon policy on sharing info House Dem: Trump could start war with Iran to thwart impeachment Lawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote MORE (Fla.)

Wilson will be watching the address with a group of her constituents, her office told The Hill. Wilson did not attend last year's address either.


Cady Stanton, Quincey Wilson and Darcy Palder contributed.