The avowed socialist who represents part of the Queens and Bronx boroughs of New York City wrote on Twitter: “None of this is normal, and I will not legitimize it.”
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.
None of this is normal, and I will not legitimize it.
Consequently, I will not be attending the State of the Union.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 4, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez is one of at least eight Democrats who have publicly declared they will skip this year’s address to the joint session of Congress by Trump, who is expected to be acquitted by the Senate of impeachment charges on Wednesday.
Reps. Al Green of Texas, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Hank Johnson of Georgia and Maxine Waters of California have also declared they will not attend.
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
They join Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, Steve Cohen of Tennessee and Frederica Wilson of Florida, who have not attended the past two years and have said they will skip again.
Conversely, Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, considered one of “The Squad” along with Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley, said she will be there.
“I am attending on behalf of all of those targeted by this President to say, ‘We are greater than hate,’” she tweeted. “My presence tonight is resistance.”
I am attending tonight’s address not to confer any legitimacy on his actions, his statements, or his presidency.
I am attending on behalf of all of those targeted by this President to say, ‘We are greater than hate.’
My presence tonight is resistance.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 4, 2020
AOC to lead at least eight Democrats boycotting Trump’s State of Union address
The boycotts are not new for Trump. Eleven Democrats publicly avoided his State of the Union address in 2018, and about 60 avoided his inauguration.
Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York, who represents the eastern end of Long Island, chided his Democratic colleagues, saying while he didn’t like President Barack Obama’s policies, he never boycotted the State of the Union address.
“While I didn’t agree w/Obama on many of his policies, I never boycotted his speech,” Zeldin tweeted. “That idea was a nonstarter. I also didn’t try to impeach him either. Boycotting tonight doesn’t unify or strengthen our republic.”
Several Dems are boycotting POTUS' #StateOfTheUnion address.
While I didn't agree w/Obama on many of his policies, I never boycotted his speech. That idea was a nonstarter. I also didn't try to impeach him either.
Boycotting tonight doesn't unify or strengthen our republic.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) February 4, 2020
Trump may be tempted to lash out at the Democratic critics seated before him in the House of Representatives, seeing it as a chance for payback against those who sought to oust him through what he calls a “witch hunt.”
Some of his aides and allies, however, have pressed for him to avoid a confrontation.
“I hope he will smother people with the milk of human kindness,” Republican Senator Pat Roberts told reporters on Monday.
His speech, which starts at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, affords Trump the opportunity to advance his message for what is likely to be a hard-fought battle for re-election on Nov. 3.
Trump was impeached by the Democratically controlled House in December on charges of abusing his authority and obstructing Congress. The charges were related to a requested investigation by Ukrainian officials of corruption allegations against former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s dealing with an energy company.
None of the 53 Republican Senators have given any indication they will vote to convict Trump and remove him from office.