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California Rep. Maxine Waters is skipping Trump's speech: 'I don't respect this president'

 (Alex Wong / Getty Images)
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) is skipping President Trump’s speech Tuesday night.

"These are ceremonial exercises. These are exercises where we honor the president, and people are shaking hands, smiling. It is an occasion where people are basically sending the message that everybody’s working together, everything is going well. I don’t quite see it that way,” Waters said between House votes. “I don’t honor this president. I don’t respect this president. And I’m not joyful in the presence of this president, and so I will not be attending tonight.”

Waters did not attend Trump's inauguration, and said no one who knew her should be surprised that she wasn't going to attend his speech before Congress.

“I’ve thought about it an awful lot, and I’ve thought about if there are any circumstance under which you would engage in this kind of ceremony. The only thing I could think of was this: If he would apologize to the disabled for mimicking and mocking the disabled journalist, if he would apologize to women for talking about grabbing them in their private parts, if he would apologize for some of the other outrageous actions that he has been involved in, maybe I would,” she said.

Waters said she wasn't encouraging other members to follow her lead and didn't know of other members skipping the speech.

Several media outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported that Waters had told Democrats she was skipping because she “couldn’t control her enthusiasm” in her opposition to Trump.

Waters said that didn't mean she thought she would yell out in the chamber as Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) did when he screamed “You lie!” at President Obama during his first speech to Congress in 2009.

“I would never speak out in the chamber. That’s what Republicans do, not what Democrats do,” she said.

3:02 p.m.: The post was updated to correct the name of the House member who yelled at President Obama in 2009. It was originally posted at 2:39 p.m.

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