At least 10 Democratic lawmakers have announced their intent to boycott President Donald Trump’s annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, citing his recent impeachment and propensity for false statements.
Though members of the House and Senate from both parties traditionally attend the speech, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, Al Green, Bennie Thompson, Bobby Rush, Steve Cohen, Earl Blumenauer, Hank Johnson, and Frederica Wilson have all elected to skip the event this year.
In a statement on Twitter, Pressley said that “The State of the Union is hurting because of the occupant of the White House... I cannot in good conscience attend tonight’s sham #SOTU.”
Green, Cohen, Blumenauer, Johnson, and Wilson all took a pass on the speech last year too, though the others chose to attend. Waters and Thompson, who chair the Financial Services and Homeland Security committees respectively, are both members of the House Democratic leadership; their absence, along with that of high-profile first-term members Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley, is especially noteworthy.
Ocasio-Cortez said that she made her decision because she felt attending would normalize and legitimize “Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution”; she also emphasized that the choice was “deeply personal” for every member of Congress.