Senior Democrat: I won't shake Trump's hand

House Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel announces he won't shake Trump’s hand at a joint session of Congress.

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Ben Ariel,

Rep. Eliot Engel
Rep. Eliot Engel
Flash 90

Senior House Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) announced on Tuesday he would not shake President Donald Trump’s hand at a joint session of Congress in which Trump will deliver a speech, The Hill reports.

It will be the first time in Engel’s 29 years serving in the House that he will not stake out a coveted center aisle seat in order to shake Trump’s hand as he walks in.

Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said his objections to Trump are not just about partisan objections.

“Unfortunately, since January 20th, 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,” he charged, according to The Hill.

“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,” continued Engel.

Engel cited Trump’s attacks on the media and his complimentary attitude toward Russian President Vladimir Putin, who intelligence agencies said ordered the hacking meant to influence the presidential election.

“This isn’t part of our normal political discourse. 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,” Engel concluded.

At least one Democrat will be skipping Trump's address entirely. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, said she would be boycotting the speech, as she did for Trump's inauguration.

More than 60 House Democrats boycotted Trump's inauguration, but most are choosing to attend his joint address to Congress, according to The Hill.

Trump initially rejected the CIA’s assessment that the hacking was carried out by Russia in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton's candidacy, insisting that Democrats bitter with the results of the election were inventing excuses for their defeat.

Later, however, his chief of staff indicated that Trump had accepted that Russia directed the hacking and subsequent disclosure of Democratic emails during the campaign.








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