Freshman liberal Democrats Reps. Rashida Talib and Ilhan Omar had to hold hands for comfort during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, Tlaib said at an event with her fellow Democrat.
Tlaib, who was speaking at Howard University at an event hosted by Rising Majority, said “there were moments of triggering” that led her to seek solace in Omar.
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“I think it was a huge struggle for me because I don’t think people realize it’s worse in — when you’re actually there. No, it really is, it actually — there was moments of triggering, and I kept holding your hand,” Tlaib said looking at Omar. “And we intentionally sat next to each other to support each other.”
The pair were the only two members of the “Squad” to attend the State of the Union address. The other two members, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, announced prior to the joint session of Congress, along with six other Democrats, that they were boycotting the speech.
Tlaib said on Tuesday she walked out of the Trump’s speech, “triggered” when Trump praised the appointments of Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
“I think, you know, even the mention of Brett Kavanaugh for me is a trigger, just as a woman in America,” Tlaib told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on the night of the speech. “The fact that he, you know, rightfully was accused and having an incredibly strong woman come before the public and the world and tell her story of sexual assault by this person that was appointed to the Supreme Court is just alone, that — I couldn’t stand still and not do anything about it, and I needed to walk away from that.”
Trump SOTU speech so ‘triggering,’ Tlaib had to hold hands with Omar
While photographs showed the two taking a selfie in the House chamber, the pair did not stand when Trump honored black World War II veteran, 100-year-old Charles McGee, one of the last surviving members of the group of African American fighter pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen.
At one point in his Tuesday night speech, Trump recognized McGee and his great-grandson, Iain, 13, an aspiring Space Force cadet.
“Sitting beside Iain tonight is his greatest hero of them all. Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago,” Trump said. “Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots, and he also happens to be Iain’s great-grandfather.”
The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of black pilots who were trained in segregated units and fought in World War II. Lionized in several dramatic films, their name is derived from the fact that they were recruited from Tuskegee University in Alabama.
Most of the lawmakers who attended the State of the Union address gave McGee a standing ovation as he rose and saluted the commander in chief. But Omar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Tlaib remained conspicuously seated.
- Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib speak at an event on February 7, 2020.: Screen grab