“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,” Blumenauer said in a statement released Monday. “Just like in past years, I plan to skip a speech that will be filled with lies, deception and divisiveness.”
Blumenauer has skipped the State of the Union every year since Trump took office. This year, the lawmaker invited Nate Mook to replace him, according to his statement. Mook is the executive director of World Central Kitchen, the organization founded by famed chef José Andrés that provides meals for people in need, including federal workers furloughed from the 35-day government shutdown.
“The amount of damage, division and confusion Trump has inflicted on the American people over the last six weeks has been a blemish on the new Congress and I refuse to be witness to his continued antics,” Blumenauer’s statement read.
Blumenauer joins Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.) in skipping Trump’s address Feb. 5.
“I will not attend the State of the Union once again this year,” Cohen told The Hill. “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.”
Georgia Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson have also said they won’t attend the annual speech.
“I’d rather be somewhere else than listening to [Trump] come onto our floor & start talking about groups of people, particularly Latinos, and disparaging them as a people,” Johnson tweeted Friday.
Johnson added that he will be watching former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who will give the Democratic rebuttal to the State of the Union.
Lewis was one of the many Democrats to not attend Trump’s address last year. Other boycotters that year included Reps. Maxine Waters (Calif.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.) and Frederica Wilson (Fla.).
Some Democrats attending the address this year are bringing guests who help send a political message, including federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown.
Trump will deliver the address Tuesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) prohibited the speech from occurring until the shutdown ended. The address was originally planned for Jan. 29.