Democrats took a shotgun method in their responses to President Trump’s State of the Union address, with a basketball team worth of lawmakers attempting to give voice to the opposition.
Massachusetts congressman Joe Kennedy and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders were among four politicians who put out their own messages in the aftermath of Trump’s speech, with another response slated for Wednesday.
Trump's address included a restrained call for “unity” as he touted the economy and defended his views on immigration, which Kennedy and others in the multi-faceted Democratic response attacked as divisive.
Kennedy was the official representative chosen by Democratic leaders, who last year tapped former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear in a less than subtle appeal to voters in the middle of the country who tilted the election towards Trump’s.
The Massachusetts 37-year-old, the grandson of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, appealed more to the Democratic base, and touted his party’s inclusion rather than a "zero sum game".
“This nagging, sinking feeling, no matter your political beliefs, this is not right. This is not who we are,” he said, though Kennedy’s speech gained the most attention on social media for his glistening lips.
Virginia House of Delegates member Elizabeth Guzman also gave the official Spanish-language response to Trump’s speech.
Guzman, an immigrant from Peru who won an upset race last year, said that Trump was pursuing a “mass deportation agenda” and “insulting the heritage of anyone who doesn’t look like him” with his immigration policies.
Though Guzman is only a state legislator and Kennedy is just beginning to make his name for himself beyond his famous family, one of the left’s most popular politicians, Sanders, also gave a response to Trump’s speech.
The Vermont Senator, who is technically in Congress as an independent but came close to winning the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, streamed his speech on social media, which he also did after Trump’s speech last year.
Sanders, borrowing a line from his campaign, said that the country was beginning to see a “political revolution” and slammed Trump for not focusing on issues such as wage inequality.
He added that while the stock market is doing well, workers have not been seeing any real growth and continue to face exorbitant healthcare costs, another signature issue for the democratic socialist.
A further response from the left-leaning side of Trump opposition was given Tuesday night from the Working Families Party, which supports progressive policies and enjoys particular clout in New York.
The address was given by Donna Edwards, a former congresswoman from Maryland who is running for a county executive position there, and focused a “government run by and for billionaires and promoting racist policies targeting people of color.”
Edwards also spoke about her personal battle with multiple sclerosis, and slammed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act mandate set to come into force next year as bad for working Americans.
Beyond those four responses Tuesday night, California Rep. Maxine Waters, whose political star has risen over the last year with moments where she repeatedly reclaimed her speaking time from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, is also slated to give a speech on Wednesday.
The address by Waters, who was reportedly considered as a potential speaker for the official Democratic response, will be aired on BET at the beginning of “Angela Rye’s State of the Union” at 10 p.m. EST.