Two African American members of congress have announced they are boycotting Donald Trump’s State of the Union in protest at his “unbelievable” remarks in which he allegedly described Haiti and African nations as “s***hole countries”.
Democrats Maxine Waters and John Lewis said they would not attend the speech, technically the President’s first State of the Union, as controversy grew over his alleged remarks, which many said were racist and vulgar.
“Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?” said Ms Waters, a California congresswoman.
“Someone who lies in the face of facts, someone who can change their tune day in and day out. What does he have to say that I would be interested in?”
Speaking in MSNBC, Ms Waters said she had not attended Mr Trump’s inauguration or his first speech to the joint houses of congress last year.
“I don’t trust him, I don’t appreciate him and I wouldn’t waste my time listening to what he has to say,” she said. “He does not deserve my attention.”
Earlier, 77-year-old Mr Lewis, a veteran of the civil rights struggle, said he would also not be attending the speech, scheduled for January 30. He said he believed being racist “must be” in Mr Trump’s DNA.
“It’s frightening to have someone in the office of the President in 2018 speaking the way that he’s speaking,” said Mr Lewis, who was among those who marched with Dr Martin Luther King during the 1960s.
“I cannot in all good conscience be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans. I just cannot do it. I wouldn’t be honest with myself.”
The development means that at least three Democratic politicians will not be attending the event, when the President is supposed to outline his plans for the coming year.
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Previously, congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said he would be staying away.
“Rather than listening to yet another destructive and divisive speech by Trump, I will not attend this year’s annual address to Congress,” he said in a statement.
“Instead, like I did during Trump’s inauguration, I will be working here at home listening to Oregonians about what they think about the State of the Union.”
Many Democrats planning different ways to protest during Mr Trump’s remarks. Female Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have said they will wear all black in solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct and the #MeToo movement.
It has also been reported some Democrats are likely to invite sexual assault survivors as their guests.