Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley joined a small but growing list of House Democrats who will skip President Donald Trump's third State of the Union speech, scheduled for 9 pm ET Tuesday.
"I cannot in good conscience attend tonight's sham."
—Rep. Ayanna Pressley
The impeached president, who could be acquitted by Senate Republicans as soon as Wednesday, is expected to discuss immigration, school choice, and foreign policy, among other topics, according to The Hill.
Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) shared her decision not to attend the president's speech in a pair of tweets, saying that "I will not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump's lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution." The congresswoman added she plans to connect with constituents on Instagram Live after the event.
This is a deeply personal decision for each member to make, and a choice I did not take lightly.
I will be hopping on Instagram Live later this evening to connect with my constituents and follow up with their questions about #SOTU.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 4, 2020
Pressley (D-Mass.) also explained her decision on Twitter. She accused Trump of demonstrating "contempt" for the American public, Congress, and the Constitution, and concluded that she "cannot in good conscience attend tonight's sham."
The State of the Union is hurting because of the occupant of the White House, who consistently demonstrates contempt for the American people, contempt for Congress & contempt for our constitution. I cannot in good conscience attend tonight's sham #SOTU → https://t.co/DTwG3Y7dK3 pic.twitter.com/Hres8eAFkK
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) February 4, 2020
With their announcements Tuesday, the congresswomen joined a handful of Democrats who also have announced they intend to skip the event in protest of the president's conduct in office.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said on Twitter that attending the address would not be consistent with her "fight and struggle against this dishonorable president."
To think that I would attend the #SOTU to hear the message of an IMPEACHED president is a thought that in no way would be consistent w/ my fight and struggle against this dishonorable president. I will certainly NOT be there!
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— Maxine Waters (@RepMaxineWaters) February 4, 2020
Rep. Al Green (D-Texas)—who advocated for impeaching Trump over his "bigotry, hatred, and hostility," long before the Ukraine military aid scandal came to light—reiterated his critique of the president in a tweet Tuesday, calling him "reckless, ruthless, lawless, shameless, corrupt, & unapologetically bigoted." Green added that he would not attend the speech Tuesday night.
Because of an impeached, reckless, ruthless, lawless, shameless, corrupt, & unapologetically bigoted president - who is still engaging in a coverup, the state of the House, the state of the Senate, and the #StateOfTheUnion are divided.
I will NOT attend #SOTU2020.
— Congressman Al Green (@RepAlGreen) February 4, 2020
At least three other House Democrats—Reps. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Steve Cohen (Tenn.), and Frederica Wilson (Fla.)—also will not be in attendance. The Hill reported that this will be the third year in a row that the trio has opted out of the event.
"I have chosen not to dignify Trump's parade of lies about healthcare, his persistent exaggeration, and his personal attacks with my attendance at this year's State of the Union address," Blumenauer said Monday. "His appalling performances each day continue to justify that decision, and I have no doubt tomorrow night will be more of the same—even possibly worse."
Cohen said that he "will not be a witness to puffery and prevarication flowing while our Constitution and our laws are disrespectfully and dangerously flouted." The congressman celebrated that his colleagues were also skipping the speech in a tweet Tuesday, linking to a Washington Post analysis of the thousands of lies that Trump has told while in office.
I’m glad that my colleagues @RepBlumenauer, @RepAlGreen & @RepWilson are continuing to stand against this #ImpeachedForever President. We will not be witnesses to more #TrumpLies. #SOTUBoycott #SOTU #SOTU2020https://t.co/cOHkZ6qXdK
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) February 4, 2020
Some members of the Senate who are seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president also aren't expected to attend Trump's address. Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) all have campaign events scheduled in New Hampshire for Tuesday evening. After a rally in Milford that is set to start at 6:30 pm ET, Sanders plans to deliver a response to Trump's speech from Manchester around 10:30 pm ET.