Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) says he will not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to a joint session of Congress in March.
“I’m not thinking about it,” Sanders said Monday, according to Bloomberg. “I’m not going. I may watch it on TV.”
Sanders, a self-described socialist, made his comments during the question and answer portion of a talk at the Brookings Institution. His announcement makes him the first senator to say he will not attend, as well as the first potential presidential candidate to do so.
Some House Democrats have already said they will not attend the Israeli prime minister’s speech on March 3, citing concerns that Netanyahu’s message may serve to undermine the administration’s nuclear negotiations with Iran and that the fact that the speech is happening so close to Netanyahu’s reelection.
Democrats have also expressed frustration that the White House and Democratic leadership were not consulted before House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) extended the invitation to Netanyahu.
Vice President Joe Biden is not expected to attend the joint session. According to reports Biden is slated to be traveling during the March 3 address and President Obama is not planning to meet with the prime minister when he is in town.