WASHINGTON — Several Capitol Hill House Democrats plan to stage different forms of silent but symbolic protests against President Donald Trump during his Joint Session of Congress address Tuesday night.
California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters plans to boycott the speech telling reporters, “I see the ceremony event as honoring the president and people are shaking hands and smiling and they are participating in a ceremony where people should be happy and respectful. This president does not deserve that.” (RELATED: Maxine Waters FLIPS OUT On MSNBC’s Katy Tur)
When asked if SHE was not attending because she may call the president out in the chamber during his remarks, Waters recoiled and said, “Well I would never speak out in the chamber. That’s what Republicans do. That’s not what Democrats do.”
She added, “I can recall a Republican embarrassing himself in this House and telling President Obama that he lied,” referencing an outburst on the floor made by South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson to President Barack Obama during his 2009 joint session remarks to Congress.
New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel announced he will refuse to shake President Trump’s hand as he enters the chamber, a tradition Engel has kept since he has been in Congress.
“Well I’ve done it for twenty eight consecutive years ever since I’ve been in Congress. I’ve shaken the hand of every president Democratic or Republican before they gave the State of the Union — that’s eight times for George W. Bush, four times for George H.W. Bush and for Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, but what I see emanating from the White House in the 30 or so days that President Trump has been president makes me very unhappy,” Engel told The Daily Caller
“And I think that to pretend it’s just simply business as usual and that we’re all going to look the other way. It’s so many things — from building this this ridiculous wall in Mexico to labeling immigrants as enemies, labeling the press as an enemy,” said Engel. “I didn’t know that the president could call a press conference and exclude certain papers he doesn’t like. To me that’s not American democracy.”
Additionally, House Democratic women will wear white in the chamber Tuesday night to symbolize the Suffragette movement.
Leaders of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which include Florida Rep. Lois Frankel, wrote a letter to members Monday suggesting for them to wear white to not only symbolize the first suffragettes, but also “stand in solidarity with the women of our nation.”
Other Democratic members have invited illegal immigrants or pro-Affordable Care Act recipients as personal guests of theirs to sit in the chamber to with them.
It is not the first time this current group of House Democrats made some form of protest in the chamber. Democratic members staged a sit in in last June when Republican leadership would not allow a gun control bill to come to the floor for a vote. The incident caused Democratic members to be penalized later.