Rep. Eliot Engel said Tuesday that he would not shake President Donald Trump's hand as he makes his way down the chamber of the House of Representatives to deliver his first speech to a joint session of Congress.
Engel, 70, a New York Democrat, said that he would not take a coveted center-aisle seat for the gesture for the first time in his 29 years in the House.
"Unfortunately, since Jan. 20, the new administration has shown no interest in working with the Congress on both sides to tackle problems, including Russia's unlawful interference in last year's election," Engel, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on the floor.
"That's why I've decided not to stand on the aisle of the House chamber to shake the president's hand during this joint session of Congress, as I have done in the past through Democratic and Republican administrations alike."
Engel's comments were reported by The Hill.
He also ripped President Trump's attacks on the news media and his perceived openness toward Russian President Vladimir Putin in his comments.
"This isn't part of our normal political discourse," he said. "This goes beyond ideological and political differences.
"The president needs to work with all people — and, therefore, I will listen to what he has to say today, but I will not greet him and shake his hand."
California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters has said that she will not attend Trump's Tuesday address — and she was among more than 60 party members who boycotted the president's inauguration in January.
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