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Third Democrat says he will skip Trump's State of the Union

The Hill logo The Hill 2/4/2019 Cristina Marcos
a man wearing a suit and tie: Third Democrat says he will skip Trump's State of the Union © Greg Nash Third Democrat says he will skip Trump's State of the Union

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) says he will again boycott the State of the Union address this year.

"I will not attend the State of the Union once again this year. 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," Cohen, who has previously called for President Trump's impeachment, said in a statement to The Hill.

Cohen, who also boycotted 2018's State of the Union, is at least the third Democrat who will skip Trump's address to Congress Tuesday.

Georgia Democratic Reps. John Lewis and Hank Johnson said last week that they will not attend.

"I have a problem with defiling the Speaker's chair in the House of Representatives," Johnson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I don't want to see it lowered, as is what happens when Donald Trump comes to our floor and starts talking about groups of people, particularly Latinos, and disparaging them as a people."

"I'd rather be somewhere else," Johnson added.

Fourteen House Democrats boycotted Trump's State of the Union last year, including Lewis, a civil rights icon, and Cohen.

Cohen introduced articles of impeachment against Trump in November 2017 that alleged the president had obstructed justice in the Russia investigation, violated the Constitution's foreign emoluments clause forbidding the acceptance of gifts from foreign governments, and undermined the federal judiciary.

But Cohen has not yet re-introduced those articles of impeachment under the new session of Congress that began last month.

Cohen recently told The Hill that he's not in a rush to introduce articles of impeachment and indicated he's waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his investigation of Russian influence in the 2016 election.

"Those people, including myself, who think he's committed impeachable offenses and should be impeached understand also the pragmatic politics of waiting for the report as proof to get more of the American public in agreement. Because you've got to have the American public on your side," Cohen told The Hill.

"I think Mueller's report will be a blockbuster."

Darcy Palder contributed.


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