- Members of the Congressional Black Caucus will protest President Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night in different ways, including boycotts.
- The chairman of the CBC declined to rule out that some of his members would be walking out during the speech.
WASHINGTON – Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will be protesting President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address in several different ways on Tuesday night, with the chairman not explicitly ruling out a walkout by some.
Many of the CBC members, along with other Democrats outside of the caucus, will be wearing black as a sign of solidarity with victims of sexual assault. The widespread wearing of all black at major functions was also on display at the Golden Globes earlier this month.
Members of the CBC who will be attending the State of the Union will be doing so to stare “racism, bigotry, inequality, and injustice in the face,” chairman Cedric Richmond said in a press conference Tuesday.
Asked about the possibility of a walkout by members of the CBC during Trump’s speech, Richmond said, “some may,” but noted that he does not have direct knowledge of a planned walkout.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters earlier on Tuesday that protests or a walkout would be “very disrespectful.”
“I wouldn’t support that during a time when President Obama was in. I wouldn’t support it now,” McCarthy said. “I think our country is better than that. People can have disagreements. Our whole government is designed to have compromise, but to have a debate.”
“And I don’t think tonight is a night to play political games,” McCarthy added. “I think tonight’s a night to listen and have respect.”
But a handful of CBC members, led by California Rep. Barbara Lee, will be boycotting the president’s address altogether.
“I have always believed that this event should be nonpartisan because I respect the office of the presidency,” Lee said. “I will not attend this State of the Union because this president has not honored nor respected the office of the presidency and has shown total disregard for our democratic institutions.”
For those boycotting the speech, Richmond said, “I can tell you the number keeps evolving,” but that a tally was not available at hand.
“So all we’re doing is shifting people from this stay in solidarity to the boycott in solidarity column,” he added. “We have not tracked it because we didn’t feel that there was a need to track it because it’s all done in unison.”
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