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These Democratic lawmakers are boycotting Trump's State of the Union

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Take it or leave it, the president's address to Congress was stipulated in Article II of the Constitution, which states that the president “shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient."

For those who can't stand the messenger, they have the option to boycott the address. This year at least a dozen Democratic lawmakers and one Supreme Court Justice have decided to exercise that right and steer clear of the Capitol on Tuesday night.

That number is larger than the number of Democrats who boycotted Trump's first address to Congress last February but much smaller than the more than 60-plus Democratic no-shows at Trump's inauguration.

Here's a list of guests you will not see at tonight's State of the Union address:

REP. EARL BLUMENAUER

Blumenauer was the first member of Congress to announce he would not be attending the joint session.

Rather than spend the evening in Washington, the Oregon Democrat will be holding a "Citizens’ State of the Union” in Portland, Ore.

"I don't think there's anything to be gained by my dignifying a performance of a reality TV star," Blumenauer said in a CNN interview. "I'm going to be here in Portland with my constituents, hearing about their concerns about the state of the union."

REP. MAXINE WATERS

Even though the California Democrat will be delivering a response to Trump's State of the Union on BET Tuesday night, she will not be in attendance.

She announced her decision on MSNBC earlier this month, saying, “Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?”

She further questioned why she should attend the speech, saying, "What does he have to say that I would be interested in? I don’t trust him, I don’t appreciate him and I wouldn’t waste my time sitting in that house listening to what he has to say. He does not deserve my attention."

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL

The congresswoman for Seattle announced Monday that she would not attend Trump's address saying that instead " we'll focus on the State of OUR Union, our opposition to his agenda, and we will lift up a progressive and inclusive vision of our country."

She accused the president of "fueling the flames of divisiveness," saying, "I think it is absolutely unacceptable to see the racism and hatred coming out of the White House."

REP. JOHN LEWIS

The Georgia congressman and civil rights leader announced in a television interview that he would boycott the speech.

"I cannot in all good conscience be in a room with what he has said about so many Americans," Lewis told MSNBC. "I just cannot do it. I wouldn’t be honest with myself."

REP. AL GREEN

Rep. Green's decision to boycott the speech follows his attempt, earlier this month, to introduce articles of impeachment against the president, for the third time.

The Houston Democrat explained his boycott in a statement on Tuesday, "Tonight, I will do something that is as old as the Boston Tea Party, righteous as the Civil Rights movement, honorable as the Women's Suffrage movement, and as necessary as the LGBTQ rights movement." He said his decision to boycott the speech was a matter of "principle and conviction" and he "will boycott the State of the Union to send a message of disapproval to an unfit president."

REP. STEVE COHEN

The Tennessee congressman issued a scathing criticism of Donald Trump in his boycott announcement on Tuesday.

"The current president is the antithesis of that sensibility: a man who appears determined to tear government down, harm the most vulnerable, benefit the rich and destroy foundational institutions such as the Department of Justice and the FBI,"

“The president is unworthy of the podium, the position and the power," Cohen stated, saying he would travel back to Memphis rather than attend. "The man now in the White House, best known for rash and reckless tweets and vulgar, racist dog whistles, will communicate his calumnies just as well without my attendance, and I trust my constituents — who have been harmed by this President’s policies and rhetoric— understand my action."

REP. DANNY DAVIS

The Illinois Democrat issued a statement on Monday listing 11 reasons why he is not attending the president's State of the Union address.

"I cannot in good conscience stand silently by and watch generations of struggle for equal rights, for civil, human and voting rights, for the rights of women, for social and economic justice be undone from the highest office in the land," Davis said. "Therefore, during the President’s 2018 State of the Union Address, I will be in Chicago meeting with constituents from the 7th Congressional District to explore the Peoples’ State of the Union.”

REP. FREDERICA WILSON

The congresswoman from Miami, Fla. announced on Monday that she will be in her home district attending a prayer vigil in lieu of Washington.

Wilson explained her decision to boycott to CNN, saying that "to go would be to honor the President and I don’t think he deserves to be honored at this time, after being so hateful towards black people and then black countries, Haiti and the whole continent of Africa"

REP. BARBARA LEE

The California congresswoman said she has attended every State of the Union since her election in 1998, but will not attend Tuesday's speech.

"Instead of listening to President Trump manufacture accomplishments, attack his political enemies and intentionally mislead the American people, I will join principled activists to strategize the next phase of resistance and our vision to move America forward," Lee said in a statement.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS

The New York representative cited Trump's "continual and obvious disrespect for diverse communities," saying he would be watching the speech from his office.

"He does not respect me or the communities I represent, so I cannot in good conscience sit idly on the House floor and listen to his scripted speech,” Meeks said in a statement.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY

The Illinois Democrat said her decision to boycott the speech was based on a refusal "to normalize President Donald Trump and his loathsome language and actions."

The congresswoman added, "The American people have been subjected to a year of racist, erratic, and divisive behavior from their Commander in Chief, and I refuse to accept that as the new normal.”

REP. ALBIO SIRES

The New Jersey congressman and Cuban immigrant said the president's "vitriol...directed at immigrants" played into his decision not to attend.

REP. JUAN VARGAS

The San Diego congressman, who skipped Trump's inauguration last year, said he would not sit through Trump's speech because "I don't want to pretend in anyway that I support this president."

In an interview with KPBS, he said that if Trump "started acting presidential I'd be happy to go again, but I'm not going to do that until he starts acting presidential, respecting women, respecting people of color and immigrants."

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG

Rather than attending Trump's first official address, the 84-year-old justice will travel to Rhode Island to speak to a group of law students.

Ginsburg and Trump clashed early on in the administration. In an interview last year, Ginsburg referred to Trump as "a faker" who "really has an ego."

Donald Trump responded at the time suggesting the "her mind is shot." He further said he hoped the liberal justice "would get off the court as soon as possible."



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