“To me, it is somewhat of an insult to the president of the United States,” said Rep. Greg Meeks (D-N.Y.), leaving the White House on Tuesday after a long meeting with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, who’s skipping the speech himself. “Barack Obama is my president, he’s the nation’s president, and it is clear therefore that I’m not going to be there, as a result of that, not as a result of the good people of Israel.”…
“It’s not just about disrespect for the president, it’s disrespect for the American people and our system of government for a foreign leader to insert himself into a issue that our policymakers are grappling with,” said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.). “It’s not simply about President Obama being a black man disrespected by a foreign leader. It’s deeper than that.”
CBC chairman Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) told reporters that the speech didn’t come up as a topic in the 90 minutes they spent with Obama in the Cabinet Room. But he, like Meeks, Johnson and many of his members, is not planning to go to Netanyahu’s speech.
Butterfield said the black caucus is in “conversation” with Israeli officials to set up a meeting with either Netanyahu or the ambassador, who has already met with several black members of Congress as part of his efforts to calm the furor.