Senior House Democrat plans to skip Trump's speech to Congress

Rep. Maxine Waters is one of Trump's loudest critics on Capitol Hill.

ByABC News
February 28, 2017, 3:53 PM

— -- A liberal House Democrat from California plans to skip President Donald Trump's address to Congress Tuesday evening.

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, told House Democrats at a caucus meeting this morning that she will not attend the speech because she doesn't think she will be able to control herself, according to Democrats who attended.

"The president is not going to say what I want him to say," Waters told ABC News in an interview after the meeting. "He's going to take credit for everything."

Waters has emerged as one of Trump's loudest critics on Capitol Hill. She has called his team a "bunch of scumbags" and said he is "leading himself" to impeachment.

Overall, Democrats have little appetite for causing a ruckus similar to the outburst by Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, during a 2009 Obama address to legislators. The congressman's "You lie!" response to a line from Obama about health care was swiftly condemned on Capitol Hill as a breach of decorum.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California said not to expect any outbursts during the speech, telling MSNBC that the "House Democratic caucus will be very dignified."

During a closed door meeting with House Democrats Tuesday, Pelosi urged her colleagues to be on their best behavior, saying they should not be "out-classed" by Donald Trump, according to her office.

"I think we have to deal with this in the utmost dignity. We cannot become them; we don't like what they did to our president," she told Democrats, as first reported in Politico and later confirmed to ABC. "We cannot be out-classed by Donald Trump. That would be the worst of all outcomes."

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley, D-New York, agreed with Pelosi, saying he doesn't anticipate any organized protests during the remarks tonight from Democrats — though some will be wearing commemorative pins.

Many House Democratic women are expected to wear white --- the color of the suffragette movement --- to "show their commitment to protecting women's rights.""We're taking the Michelle Obama" route, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida, said. "We're going to be as dignified as possible under the circumstances."

"I think we intend to be polite and listen and obviously comment afterwards," said Rep. John Garamendi, D-California. "There is a place for torches and pitchforks but not in the House of Representatives."

Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, who, like Waters, skipped Trump's inauguration, plans to attend the speech tonight to "show solidarity with my fellow Democrats."

ABC's MaryAlice Parks contributed to this report.

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