House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said no one should use the term “boycott,” Democrats simply might be too busy to attend Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress next month.
In her weekly press conference Thursday, the Democrat House leader claimed there’d be no official Democrat-organized “boycott,” but suggested that Netanyahu should probably not expect a packed house on the left:
“I don’t think anybody should use the word ‘boycott,'” Pelosi told reporters. “When these heads of state come, people are here doing their work, they’re trying to pass legislation, they’re meeting with their constituents and the rest. It’s not a high-priority item for them.”
When Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced that he invited the Israeli leader to address a joint session of Congress in March about the threat posed by Iran, the Obama administration and Democrats were outraged, citing a break with protocol and perceiving the move as a deliberate attempt to undermine the president’s negotiations with Iran. The pushback has led to some on the left publicly stating they will not attend the speech. The National Journal reports:
At least two Democrats have now confirmed publicly that they won’t attend. Reps. John Lewis and G.K. Butterfield both said Thursday they would skip the speech, according to the Associated Press. “I think it’s an affront to the president and the State Department what the speaker did,” Lewis told AP, while Butterfield said he was “very disappointed the speaker would cause such a ruckus” with the invite.