This Tuesday night, President Donald Trump will deliver his second State of the Union address — and a number of high-profile House Democrats won’t be there. Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen recently became the latest to announce they’d be boycotting Trump’s speech, explaining on Monday that he does not trust Trump and doesn’t even want to act like he does.
‘I’ll come to the House Chamber for the State of the Union the next time I can hear from a president who will tell the truth about the State of the Union.’
Trump has been documented to have lied thousands upon thousands of times and counting while in office, but more acutely, he’s been lately defining his administration with the lie that a border wall blocking off Mexico is necessary for national security. In recent days at the White House, he suggested that his push for that wall would figure prominently in his SOTU address — which certainly isn’t far-fetched considering his demonstrated commitment to the cause. He refused to approve any further government funding for over a month — thereby shutting it down — because Congress wouldn’t give him the billions of dollars that he wanted for the project.
Just on Sunday night, he ranted about the “criminals of all dimensions” that a border wall would supposedly address.
To be clear, there is no overwhelming criminal threat from the asylum seekers that, down in reality, actually arrive at the southern border.
Trump has sought to cast his way as the best for the country and the true path of bipartisanship — or whatever — while at the same time remaining in his ideology-driven, reality-disconnected hole. No matter what lip service Trump pays to bridging political divides Tuesday night, the fact remains — he offered the same kind of lip service in his post-midterm elections press conference, and that was over a month before he shut down the government over his political stance, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers temporarily without pay.
Before Cohen, Democratic Congressmen John Lewis (Ga.) and Hank Johnson (Ga.) also announced they’d be skipping Trump’s State of the Union address. Johnson was perhaps the most blunt, offering:
‘I have a problem with defiling the Speaker’s chair in the House of Representatives. I don’t want to see it lowered, as is what happens when Donald Trump comes to our floor and starts talking about groups of people, particularly Latinos, and disparaging them as a people.’
I won’t be attending #SOTU. I’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. But I will be at a @staceyabrams watch party! https://t.co/x3cF7FwHSQ
— Rep. Hank Johnson (@RepHankJohnson) February 1, 2019
Lewis and Cohen were among the 14 House Democrats who skipped Trump’s State of the Union address last year. This time around, the speech wasn’t even a given for a period of time after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she would not have the president in the House chamber while the government was shut down.
The government has since reopened — but Trump only agreed to funding until February 15 and has threatened to take further drastic action, including a possible national emergency declaration, if he doesn’t get what he wants. Negotiations between members of both parties ahead of that new deadline are ongoing.
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