10 Democrats to boycott Trump State of the Union address


Most of the 10 Democrats — Reps. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Miami mayor worries about suicide and domestic violence rise; Trump-governor debate intensifies Overnight Energy: Iconic national parks close over coronavirus concerns | New EPA order limits telework post-pandemic | Lawmakers urge help for oil and gas workers Bipartisan lawmakers urge assistance for oil and gas workers MORE (Texas), Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezThe battle of two Cubas An affordable zero-emissions grid needs new nuclear Recovery First: The American comeback shouldn't hinge on warmed-over policy agendas MORE (N.Y.), Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyHouse Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality Warren's VP bid faces obstacle: Her state's Republican governor Democrats blast CDC report on minorities and COVID-19 MORE (Mass.), Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersMcCarthy yanks endorsement of California candidate over social media posts Top bank regulator announces abrupt resignation GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts MORE (Calif.), Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonStates plead for cybersecurity funds as hacking threat surges House members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Federal watchdog finds chemical facilities vulnerable to cyberattacks MORE (Miss.), Bobby RushBobby Lee RushHouse coronavirus bill aims to prevent utility shutoffs Jimmy Kimmel mocks Pence delivery of PPE Delta, American Airlines to mandate face coverings during US flights MORE (Ill.), Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenHouse members race to prepare for first-ever remote votes Frontier drops planned fees for social distancing on flights after criticism More resources for the Legal Services Corporation are needed as the pandemic continues MORE (Tenn.), Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerPass the Primary Care Enhancement Act Democrats introduce bill to include cannabis businesses in coronavirus relief Michelle Obama to promote absentee voting MORE (Ore.), Hank JohnsonHenry (Hank) C. JohnsonProgressives urge Democrats to hear from federal judge deeply critical of Roberts, conservatives House approves bill banning flavored tobacco products Clinton advises checking your voter registration during Trump's State of the Union MORE (Ga.) and Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonHouse Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality Pelosi says George Floyd was 'murdered on TV' Pelosi: George Floyd death is 'a crime' MORE (Fla.) — have also opted against attending Trump's past annual addresses to Congress in recent years as an expression of protest against his presidency.
 
Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley, who have been targets of Trump over the last year, both announced Tuesday that they will not be in the House chamber for the address. 
 
Both attended Trump's State of the Union last year about a month after they first took office.
 
"After much deliberation, I have decided that I will not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution," Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a series of tweets. "None of this is normal, and I will not legitimize it."
 
 
“On the eve of Senate Republicans covering up transgressions and spreading misinformation, I cannot in good conscience attend a sham State of the Union when I have seen firsthand the damage Donald J. Trump’s rhetoric and policies have inflicted on those I love and those I represent," Pressley said in a statement.
 
 
Green, one of the first and most ardent backers of impeaching Trump, said Tuesday that he will again decline to attend.

"Because of an impeached, reckless, ruthless, lawless, shameless, corrupt, & unapologetically bigoted president - who is still engaging in a coverup, the state of the House, the state of the Senate, and the #StateOfTheUnion are divided," Green tweeted. "I will NOT attend #SOTU2020."
 
Waters, another early proponent of impeachment who has skipped previous addresses by Trump, also said she would not attend on Tuesday.
 
“To think that I would attend the #SOTU to hear the message of an IMPEACHED president is a thought that in no way would be consistent w/ my fight and struggle against this dishonorable president. I will certainly NOT be there!” Waters tweeted.
 
 
"If I wanted to watch it, I can watch on TV," Gabbard told ABC News.
 
At least six House Democrats boycotted Trump's State of the Union address last year.
 
A total of 14 Democrats skipped the address in 2018, which came shortly after Trump caused a firestorm for describing African nations as "s---hole countries." Many Democrats also wanted to make a point amid their frustrations after Trump's first full year in office.
 
Impeachment factored into many Democrats’ decisions not to attend this year.
 
“I'm not interested in listening to this impeached President lie. Therefore, I will not be attending the #SOTU2020 tonight,” tweeted Thompson, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

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Rush said in a statement on Tuesday that he “cannot honor this man in any way.”

“It would be painfully hypocritical of me to endure 90 minutes of unrelenting lies and all types of distortions and untruths, while at the same time watching his Republican apologists cheer,” he said.
 
More than 60 Democrats also boycotted Trump's inauguration, but most still attended the joint address a little over a month later. Green and Waters also did not attend Trump's joint address to Congress in 2017, which came shortly after his inauguration and therefore technically was not a State of the Union speech.
 
Trump went after Wilson, another CBC member, in 2017 after she criticized his handling over a call to the widow of a fallen solider, tweeting that she was "wacky" and "killing the Democrat Party."

Wilson said Tuesday that Trump is “too disrespectful toward women, children, immigrants, Gold Star families and poor people.”

Cohen, who previously co-introduced articles of impeachment against Trump in 2017, said in a statement on Monday that he "will not be a witness to puffery and prevarication flowing while our Constitution and our laws are disrespectfully and dangerously flouted."

Blumenauer also said that he will continue his streak since 2018 of skipping Trump's address.

“I have chosen not to dignify Trump’s parade of lies about health care, his persistent exaggeration, and his personal attacks with my attendance at this year’s State of the Union Address. His appalling performances each day continue to justify that decision, and I have no doubt tomorrow night will be more of the same — even possibly worse," Blumenauer said in a statement on Monday.
 
Most Democrats do plan to attend Trump's speech Tuesday night, with female lawmakers planning to reprise their tradition of wearing white — the color of suffragettes — to show solidarity with women.

Trump will not be the first president to deliver a State of the Union address before the Senate had concluded its impeachment trial into his alleged misconduct.

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Then-President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonTop Democratic pollster advised Biden campaign to pick Warren as VP How Obama just endorsed Trump Trump, Biden signal how ugly the campaign will be MORE delivered his State of the Union address in January 1999 while the Senate was still conducting an impeachment trial over his affair with a White House intern. Clinton pointedly did not discuss impeachment during his speech and kept a focus on his domestic policy agenda.

Several GOP lawmakers boycotted Clinton's address that year, arguing that it was inappropriate for him to deliver a State of the Union speech before the end of the impeachment process.

Then-Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), who was one of the 13 House Republicans serving as a prosecutor in the Senate trial, was among the boycotters because he thought it was "inappropriate and awkward for the president to make this speech directly to those sitting in judgment of him and those presenting the case against him in the Senate."

According to an Associated Press article from the time, then-Speaker Dennis HastertJohn (Dennis) Dennis HastertFeehery: Masks, masking and Montmartre Feehery: Fighting the government's harmful overreaction to COVID-19 Feehery: Fear itself is more dangerous than COVID-19 MORE (R-Ill.) maintained that despite any "discomfort," Congress would listen to Clinton's remarks "out of respect for the office of the presidency and for the state of our union."

The Senate is expected to vote Wednesday to acquit Trump on the two articles of impeachment passed by the House in December that accuse the president of abusing his power and obstructing Congress in his pursuit to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his political opponents.

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The Senate narrowly voted Friday not to call any witnesses in the trial, with only two GOP senators, Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyDemocrats broaden probe into firing of State Department watchdog Coronavirus and America's economic miracle Former Romney strategist joins anti-Trump Lincoln Project MORE (Utah) and Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsDemocrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration gives renewables more time to take advantage of tax credits | House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals | Watchdog faults EPA communications in contamination of NC river The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities MORE (Maine), joining with Democrats in support of calling witnesses. 

Tuesday will be the first time that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi calls Trump's decision to withdraw US from WHO 'an act of extraordinary senselessness' House Democrats unveil measure to condemn police brutality The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Khanna says President Trump threatening violence against US citizens; Trump terminating relationship with WHO MORE (D-Calif.) and Trump will have spoken since a disastrous mid-October meeting on Syria in which she walked out following a confrontation with the president.

Pelosi told The New York Times in an interview published Monday that Democrats would treat Trump “as a guest in our House — and we hope he will behave as a guest in our House.”

“But,” Pelosi added, “we never have that expectation.”
 
This story was updated at 9:06 p.m.