Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced Thursday that he would not attend the upcoming Women’s Convention in Detroit next weekend after being invited to speak on the opening night of the inaugural convention. Instead, Sanders said he will visit Puerto Rico to survey damage from Hurricane Maria. “I want to apologize to the organizers of the Women’s Convention for not being able to attend your conference next Friday in Detroit,” Sanders said in a statement. “Given the emergency situation in Puerto Rico, I will be traveling there to visit with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and other officials to determine the best way forward to deal with the devastation the island is experiencing. The U.S. Congress cannot turn its back on the millions of people in Puerto Rico who, four weeks after the hurricane, are still without electricity, food and running water.” He added: “Congratulations to the board of the Women’s March – Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez, Janaye Ingram, Breanne Butler – along with thousands of other women leaders for their historic work in putting together the march in January and all that you have done since. My best wishes for a very successful conference.” Sanders’ invitation by the organizers had sparked some backlash from people objecting to him speaking on the opening night of the conference.