House Democrats are rallying behind a plan to make President Trump’s first speech to Congress as uncomfortable as possible by inviting guests they say will suffer under new White House policies.
The strategy means Trump will likely face a crowd including ethnic minorities, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, the disabled and others when he addresses a joint session on Feb. 28.
From The Hill
It’s a shift in tactics for Democrats, some of whom skipped Trump’s inauguration last month in protest.
Democrats say there are no plans to stage a similar boycott of Trump’s speech, but they want to put him face-to-face with people who feel alienated and targeted by his controversial executive orders.
In a letter circulating on Capitol Hill, a group of liberals is urging fellow Democrats to bring guests who have made “a positive impact” on the community “despite discrimination or marginalization.”
“It is our hope that their presence in the House Gallery will remind President Trump that he is not the arbiter of patriotism,” reads the letter. “This country belongs to all of us, and his rhetoric of intolerance will not stand.”
The authors of the letter are as diverse as the crowd they’re seeking to assemble.
They include Reps. Jim Langevin (R.I.), who was shot accidentally as a teen and became the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress; Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus; Cedric Richmond (La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus; Judy Chu (Calif.), head of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; and David Cicilline (R.I.) and Jared Polis (Colo.), the co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus.
“We want to send a strong message to the [president] that he cannot push these communities aside, and he cannot change the fabric of this country,” they wrote.
Some liberals are also eyeing another form of protest during the speech: When Trump walks down the center aisle of the House chamber on the way to the dais, they’re hoping no Democrats scramble to get in the picture for the traditional handshake.
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