A growing number of Democrat lawmakers have vowed to boycott the President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address tonight.
The members are citing objections to Trump’s rhetoric and politics. Several have specifically referred to reports this month that Trump questioned why the U.S. accepts so many immigrants from “s—hole countries” in Africa and said the U.S. didn’t need more people from Haiti.
Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a civil rights icon who marched with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., announced on MSNBC that he won’t be attending. “I cannot, in all the conscience, be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans. I just cannot do it. I wouldn’t be honest with myself,” Lewis said.
Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois said in a statement: “This has been the most chaotic, divisive, and incompetent first year of any administration and I will not sit and watch as Trump pretends that he’s off to a successful start. He’s not.
“This is a presidency that has been built on racism, stupidity, and lies, which has already wasted enough of America’s time and I will not waste any more of mine,” Rush added.
Other lawmakers who have said that they will skip the president’s address include Reps. Maxine Waters, Frederica S. Wilson, Gregory W. Meeks, Pramila Jayapal, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, Albio Sires, and Earl Blumenauer.
Last year, more than 60 Democrats skipped President Trump’s inauguration day.
If I felt that attending @realDonaldTrump's State of the Union advanced the interests of Washington's 7th District, the United States, or the global community to which we are so interconnected, I would be there.
But it doesn't. Here is why. https://t.co/XvUlUHdgmX
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 17, 2018
Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington said she refuses “to dignify a president who has used the platform of the Oval Office to fan the flames of racism, sexism and hatred — most recently with his vulgar condemnation of Haiti and other African countries.”
“My refusal to attend the State of the Union is not about policy differences, of which I have many,” Jayapal said in a recent Tweet. “I would attend a State of the Union by a president with whom I disagree if I felt she or he was otherwise respectful and adhered to basic moral values or basic tenets of civility.