Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech is scheduled for the end of this month and Democrats are already thinking of ways they can turn it into a protest. The Hill reports that some Democrats will do what they did for his inauguration, i.e. boycott the speech. Others plan to wear black to bring awareness to the #MeToo movement:
At least one lawmaker plans to boycott the speech entirely, with more Democrats possibly opting to skip the event as well. Female Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) plan to wear black to show solidarity with victims of sexual misconduct, just as Hollywood stars did at an awards show over the weekend.
Members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group had been discussing ideas for a coordinated effort around the State of the Union after wearing white — the color of suffragettes — to Trump’s first joint address to Congress last year. They settled on wearing black after watching the Golden Globes on Sunday.
Female Democrats are hoping that their display of black will help bring the “Me Too” conversation about rooting out sexual misconduct and women’s issues to Trump’s State of the Union on Jan. 30.
Democrats also plan to invite guests to the speech to highlight various issues. The Hill reports DACA recipients will be invited by some. Meanwhile, NBC News reports other Democrats plan to invite victims of sexual assault as their guests:
“Some members will be bringing survivors of sexual assault and advocates as their guests,” said an aide to Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida, who is a leader of the Democratic Women’s Working Group in the House. The aide asked not to be identified.
Party leaders generally don’t dictate who rank-and-file members can invite with the one ticket each one gets for a seat in a gallery above the House floor where the president delivers the address. And there’s still some uncertainty within Democratic ranks over where to draw the line between addressing sexual misconduct and turning the topic into a partisan political war…
Several Democrats told NBC News that there had been no discussion of inviting victims of Trump’s alleged harassment to the State of the Union. The invites will be extended to other victims.
NBC adds that Rep. Pelosi is actually trying to discourage Democrats from going too partisan on the sexual harassment, for instance by holding mock hearings with some of Trump’s accusers, because it could create a roadblock for bipartisan legislation addressing the topic.
Of course, the guests who will be the real focus at the SOTU won’t be the ones invited by Democrats, but the ones invited by President Trump. Usually, the president invites people he intends to recognize or highlight in his speech. Last year, during his address to a joint session of Congress, Trump had one of his best early moments as president when he led a sustained standing ovation for Navy Seal Ryan Owens, who died in Yemen, as his widow Carryn Owens watched.