Tuesday, January 16, 2018

What if They Gave a State of the Union Address and the President Didn't Show Up?

Constituents of some districts will not have House representation at the State of the Union Address on January 30th. The following congresspeople will boycott.

Frederica Wilson (FL)
Maxine Waters (CA)
John Lewis (GA)
Pramila Jayapal (WA)
Earl Blumenauer (OR)

All Democrats, so far. It’s a safe bet that there are more to come. Most say they are skipping the address due to President Trump’s sh*thole remarks – which remain in the he-said/he-didn’t-say category.

But guess what: they don’t have to be at the address. None of the representatives or senators are required to be at the Capitol during the speech. The vice-president doesn’t have to be there, either.

And get this: neither does the president.

Here’s what the US Constitution says about the piece of communication called the State of the Union address.
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States
Emphasis mine. From time to time. Nothing about how.

Thomas Jefferson sent memos to Congress.* Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his from the Oval Office – where a wheelchair could be much more easily concealed.

Oh sure, the SOTU is replete with tradition and ceremony, but there’s nothing in the rule book which mandates that a president’s SOTU must be in person or at the Capitol.

John Lewis
I would die of laughter if the president Tweeted/YouTubed/emailed his address, because you know the outrage would be FIERCE -- mostly because he would deny the boycotters a virtue-signaling opportunity.

I think he should do it. What do you think?

*A practice which lasted up to Woodrow Wilson.

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