NJ Reps Walk Out of State of the Union Address
Several Democratic members of the New Jersey congressional delegation walked out on President Donald Trump's State of the Union address on Tuesday night.
Trump stood before a Congress and nation sharply divided by impeachment and used his State of the Union address to extol a "Great American Comeback" on his watch. That's just three years after he took office decrying a land of "American carnage" under his predecessor.
The partisan discord in Washington was on vivid display as the first president to campaign for reelection while facing impeachment vigorously made his case for another term. Republican legislators chanted "Four More Years."
The Democrats' displeasure with the speech was led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who ripped up her copy of the speech at the podium at its conclusion. After Trump had left, she waved what remained of the speech to her family in the gallery.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, of New Jersey's 12th Congressional District, in a tweet called the speech "despicable and dishonest," and said she walked out because of what she called lies "to my face and the American people about protecting preexisting conditions, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid."
Rep. Bill Pascrell, of the 9th District, also used Twitter to say that walked out because "I can’t stand a liar. This man’s presidency is a national tragedy."
Rep. Donald Payne, of the 10th District, stayed away entirely from the State of the Union address, saying in a press release Trump "has spent his entire term promoting his interests ahead of the public good."
"I go to a State of the Union address to hear the President. I do not go to hear a self-appointed King," Payne wrote.
Payne also said he was not attending because the Senate will likely vote to acquit Trump on charges on impeachment.
TheHill.com reported that at least four other Democrats from around the country walked out of the speech. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan compared the speech to professional wrestling in a tweet.
Coleman and Payne are long-time critics of Trump going back to his inauguration in 2017, which they both did not attend.
Rep. Albio Sires, of the 8th District, did not attend the speech because of illness, according to NJ.com.
Neither Reps. Chris Smith of the 4th District nor Jeff Van Drew of the 2nd District, both Republicans, had commented on social media about the speech by early Wednesday morning. Trump came to New Jersey last week and held a rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center in support of Van Drew's switch to the Republican Party and his re-election campaign.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.