Some Democrats opt to skip Trump’s State of the Union address ahead of Senate impeachment vote

At least eight House Democrats plan to boycott President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, a day before the Senate is scheduled to vote on his acquittal or removal amid his impeachment trial.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-N.Y., Ayanna Pressley D-Mass., Maxine Waters D-Calif., Steve Cohen D-Tenn., Al Green D-Texas, Earl Blumenauer D-Ore., Frederica Wilson D-Fla. and Hank Johnson D-Ga. have all announced plans to forgo Trump’s annual speech as a form of protest against his presidency.  

Ocasio-Cortez, a frequent target of Trump, said she refuses to legitimize the president’s “lawless conduct” by attending the ceremony. 

“After much deliberation, I have decided that I will not use my presence at a state ceremony to normalize Trump’s lawless conduct & subversion of the Constitution,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday. 

“None of this is normal, and I will not legitimize it. Consequently, I will not be attending the State of the Union.”

Echoing Ocasio-Cortez’s tone was Waters, one of the first members of Congress to call for Trump’s impeachment. 

“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," Waters tweeted. "I will certainly NOT be there!" 

Pressley, meanwhile, accused Trump of holding the nation in contempt while calling tonight’s ceremony a “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,” Pressley tweeted. “I cannot in good conscience attend tonight's sham #SOTU."

Green, another vehement supporter of impeaching Trump, also said he would not be in the House chambers on Tuesday night.

“Because of an impeached, reckless, ruthless, lawless, shameless, corrupt, & unapologetically bigoted president - who is still engaging in a cover up, the state of the House, the state of the Senate, and the #StateOfTheUnion are divided," Green said on Twitter. "I will NOT attend #SOTU2020."

All of the Congress members who are skipping this year’s ceremony have missed at least one of Trump’s addresses in the past, with the exception of Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley, who both took office about a month before the president’s 2019 speech. 

Trump’s State of the Union comes at a time of heightened tension in Washington as the president’s impeachment trial comes to an end. The Senate is expected to acquit Trump on both articles of impeachment on Wednesday. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.