Democrats planning protests for Trump’s first State of the Union

Democrats are already plotting ways to protest during President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE’s State of the Union later this month. 

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 PelosiNancy Patricia D’Alesandro PelosiMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Abortion-rights group endorses Nadler in race to replace Conyers on Judiciary Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting MORE (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.

Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelWe will fight for our DREAMers Overnight Regulation: Trump issues order to ease ObamaCare rules | NRA opposes bill banning bump stocks | Dems propose writing campus sex assault guidance into law Dems unveil bill to write campus sexual assault guidance into law MORE (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, said she also expects to give her guest ticket in the House chamber gallery to a person involved in the “Me Too” movement, but hasn’t decided whom to invite yet.

“What we want is to really continue the conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace, about disparity of salaries where people work in the same job, and also getting paid for the value of your work,” Frankel said.

She joked that lawmakers’ attire won’t be quite the same as at the Golden Globes: “I don’t expect to see diamonds or a lot of flesh.”

Last month, female lawmakers led by Frankel demanded that Congress launch an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump that surfaced during the 2016 campaign. Three of the more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct had also jointly called for lawmakers to probe the allegations against the president. 

Beyond wearing white, Democrats found several other ways to protest Trump during his joint address to Congress in February 2017.

Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelTop Dem hits Trump administration over lack of transparency in Cuba attacks House passes bill to revoke passports of terror suspects North Korean defector to Congress: Invest more in information campaigns to stop Pyongyang MORE (D-N.Y.) delivered a House floor speech announcing that he wouldn’t try to get a prime seat along the center aisle to shake the president’s hand for the first time since he began serving in 1989. Other Democrats sat along the center aisle, but quickly moved away as Trump approached to avoid shaking his hand on national television.

Many Democrats invited guests to make political statements, such as young immigrants, people affected by Trump’s travel ban and Spanish-American celebrity chef José Andrés, who withdrew plans for a restaurant in Trump’s Washington, D.C.,  hotel.

Most lawmakers haven’t decided whom to invite as guests this year, but many may bring so-called Dreamers, or immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, amid the negotiations over how to protect them from deportation. Frankel said that other members may also bring guests associated with the “Me Too” movement.

Trump announced last fall that the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would end on March 5. Republicans and Democrats are negotiating a deal that would allow DACA recipients to stay in the U.S. while enhancing border security.

Only two Democrats announced their intentions to skip Trump’s address last year, compared to the more than 60 who boycotted his inauguration.

Reps. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment Lobbying world Richard Gere returning to Capitol Hill to talk Tibet MORE (D-Calif.) and Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment House rejects Democrat’s resolution to impeach Trump Pelosi, Hoyer: Now is not the time to consider impeachment MORE (D-Texas) both declined to attend Trump’s appearance before a joint session of Congress last year. 

Green at the time cited the decision of Trump’s Justice Department to withdraw an argument opposing the Texas voter ID law. 

Since then, Waters and Green have both agitated for Trump’s impeachment. Green forced a House floor vote last month on his articles of impeachment against Trump, which 57 other Democrats supported.

Green said Wednesday that he plans to make an announcement in the coming days about whether he will attend the State of the Union.

A spokeswoman for Waters didn’t return a request for comment.

So far, Rep. Earl BlumenauerEarl BlumenauerDemocrat: Pelosi ‘ceded the moral high ground’ on sexual harassment Clyburn on disparity in responses to sexual allegations: ‘Who elected them?’ Third House Dem calls for Conyers to resign MORE (Ore.) is the only Democrat who has said he won’t attend the State of the Union address.

“Instead, like I did during Trump’s Inauguration, I will be working here at home listening to Oregonians about what they think about the State of the Union,” Blumenauer said in a statement.

Other vocal Trump critics like Reps. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenThe nearly 60 Dems who voted for impeachment House rejects Democrat’s resolution to impeach Trump Dem plans to force House floor vote on impeaching Trump MORE (D-Tenn.), who both voted in favor of impeaching Trump last month, plan to attend. 

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), who introduced legislation called the Stable Genius Act this week requiring all presidential candidates to undergo a medical exam, also said he would go to the State of the Union despite boycotting the inauguration last year. Boyle named his bill after a tweet by Trump over the weekend proclaiming himself a “very stable genius” amid discussion of his mental stability and fitness to serve as president. 

Despite his legislative poking fun at Trump, Boyle thinks it is worth being in the audience for the State of the Union. 

“In my mind, I made the distinction between what is actually part of my job versus something that’s more a formal ceremony but actually isn’t necessarily part of your job. So I would look at it the same way this year,” Boyle said of his decision to boycott the inauguration but attend Trump’s joint address to Congress.

“I think that it is important given that he’s talking entirely about legislative issues, that as representatives, we would be there.”

This post originally appeared on The Hill


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