Choose Your City
Change City

Bronx congressman won't be shaking hands with President Trump before speech

Rep. Eliot Engel won't seek to get an early seat in order to shake the president's hand, as he has done for the last three decades.

Congressman Eliot Engel says he will break with tradition by not seeking to shake Wikimedia Commons

For the first time in his 29-year tenure as aNew York congressman, Rep. Eliot Engel won't be waiting to shake hands with the president when he enters the House chambers to address a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.

RELATED:Trump to deliver first address to joint session of Congress tonight

Engel, a Democrat who represents the Northwest Bronx and parts of Westchester County, announced his decision in the House chambers today.

"The new administration hasshown no interestin working with the Congress,on both sides, to tackle problemsincludingRussia's unlawful interferencein last year's election," he said."That's why I've decided not to stand on the aisle of the House chamber and shake the president's hand during this joint session of Congress, as I have done in the past through Democratic and Republican administrations alike."


Engel has made something of a name for himself for getting an early seat in the House chamber hours before his colleagues. Year after year, Engel repeated the ritual, always making sure he was in the proper position along the aisle to shake the president's hand — whether that president be Democrat or Republican — as he walks into the chamber.

Engel attended Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, and said this is the first time since he was elected almost three decades ago that he will not shake the president's hand.

The move was noted on Twitter.