For 29 years, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York, has camped out in the House chamber ahead of a presidential address to Congress — spending hours saving an aisle seat to greet the president as he entered and exited the chamber.
But today, the notorious “aisle hog” announced that he would be breaking his tradition, and skip taking an aisle seat to wish President Trump well as he addresses Congress for the first time tonight.
Engel, the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he made the decision in response to Trump’s policies on refugees, criticism of the media and praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I have deep respect for the Presidency, and I will attend the joint session. But that respect between branches must be mutual,” Engel said on the House floor Tuesday.
“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…