President Trump is expected to call for unity during his second State of the Union address — but a handful of Democrats aren’t planning on listening to the president’s pleas Tuesday night, as they don’t plan to attend the historic event.
Several of Trump’s harshest critics will be in the crowd, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who will take the seat right behind the president. Pelosi sparred with Trump to reschedule the address while the country faced the longest government shutdown in the history of the U.S. over an ongoing debate about funding for a proposed border wall.
Some of his 2020 rivals, such as Sens. Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey, will also be attending. Many Democrats are trolling Trump with their specific State of the Union guests — inviting government employees recently impacted by the shutdown, people living in the U.S. affected by the ongoing immigration debate, among others.
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However, a handful of Democrats believe they’re making a bigger statement by not going at all.
Here’s a look at some lawmakers who have said they won’t attend Trump’s speech Tuesday.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer
It’s no surprise Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said he would stay home during the State of the Union this year – just like he did during Trump’s inauguration and his first address.
“The thought of spending Tuesday night in the House Chamber listening to the reckless, self-centered man who occupies the White House holds no interest for me. Just like in past years, I plan to skip a speech that will be filled with lies, deception and divisiveness,” Blumenauer said in a statement to The Hill, though he added that he did invite a guest.
The executive director of the World Central Kitchen, Nate Mook, who helped feed government employees recently affected by the shutdown as well as hurricane victims in recent years, was given a ticket to the event on behalf of Blumenauer.
“The amount of damage, division and confusion Trump has inflicted on the American people over the last six weeks has been a blemish on the new Congress and I refuse to be witness to his continued antics,” Blumenauer added to the newspaper.
Rep. Steve Cohen
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., also said he would boycott the speech for the second year in a row.
“I’ll be joining @RepJohnLewis and others in boycotting the #SOTU. I’ll come to the House Chamber for the State of the Union when I can hear from a president who will tell the #Truth. I’ll watch on TV, Trump’s preferred medium, although I won’t be his audience, his believing base,” Cohen announced on Twitter Monday.
Rep. John Lewis
As Cohen mentioned, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., also said he wouldn’t go to the State of the Union, according to The Hill.
Lewis skipped last year’s speech because of Trump’s reported comments about “s–thole” countries, saying he couldn’t “in good conscience be in a room” with Trump because of his rhetoric at the time.
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The civil rights icon has not yet released a statement detailing his plans for this year’s State of the Union address.
Rep. Hank Johnson
Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said he’d “rather be somewhere else than listening to @realDonaldTrump come onto our floor & start talking about groups of people, particularly Latinos, and disparaging them as a people.”
However, Johnson did confirm that he would be attending Stacey Abrams’ watch party. Abrams, a former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate, will deliver the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address.
Samantha Ramirez-Herrera, a “Dreamer” and CEO & Founder of Offtharecord.com, was announced as Johnson’s State of the Union guest.
“#DACA recipients like Samantha are our friends, neighbors & colleagues — they are a part of our community & their story is #OurHispanicSOTU,” he tweeted Tuesday afternoon.