Democrats use State of the Union to get their messages across

Posted: Updated:
2018 State of the Union address 2018 State of the Union address

Democrats are using President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address to bring attention to some of the aspects of his presidency on which they wish he would improve.

The Trump administration touted the speech as “Much Watch TV.” But about a dozen Democratic lawmakers, including New Jersey Rep. Albio Sires, boycotted the speech.

Rep. Sires represents New Jersey’s 8th District, an area that has predominantly immigrant residents. Sires says that President Trump has spent much of the last year disparaging immigrant Americans and he wants to send that message that this is not OK.

Sires points to comments reportedly made by the president recently that used vulgar language to describe certain countries.

RELATED: President Trump delivers his first State of the Union address

“We have a president who has spent a whole year disparaging immigration and immigrants and I really don't feel like I should be part of it tonight,” the congressman says. “I want to send him a message that there are people here that do not accept the fact he's disparaging all the immigrants."

Other Democrats did attend the speech, and brought people that they felt were victimized by President Trump as guests. 

Sen. Cory Booker brought a Mexican DACA recipient, while Sen. Bob Menendez brought New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault executive director Patricia Teffenhart.

"Our attendance here tonight is less about the person who is giving the speech and more about the others in the room,” Teffenhart says. “To ensure that all our elected officials are holding survivors close to them and using advocacy organizations…to ensure survivors voices are heard as we are charting a path forward through the response to the #MeToo movement."

New Jersey Republican Rep. Leonard Lance says that he hopes the president reaches across the aisle in his address.

"I certainly hope that the American people will listen closely to the address and I hope that the president is bipartisan in his remarks, recognizing that it is the responsibility of the two elected branches of government to work together to better our nation,” Lance says.

The officials theme of President Trump’s speech was “Building a safe, strong, and proud America,” and covered five topics: Jobs and the Economy, Infrastructure, Immigration, Trade and National Security.

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