Kennedy Explains Multiple Democratic SOTU Responses: Party Is 'Big Tent Party'

January 31, 2018

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D., Mass.) said Wednesday morning on MSNBC that multiple Democratic responses to the State of the Union address on Tuesday night were necessary because the Democratic Party is a "big tent party."

"Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski asked Kennedy, who delivered the official response to President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address, if the party's response was a missed opportunity because Democrats' multiple responses didn't present a unified front.

"I'm curious, there were about five Democratic responses," Brzezinski said. "Is that constructive at this time? It seems like a time of great opportunity for the Democratic Party."

"I think Democratic party at our best, we're a big tent party, and to be able to have other leading voices out there that are going to put forth what they think is an important and compelling vision for constituencies they speak to, I think right now, particularly, as we are trying to unify, is not a bad thing at all," Kennedy said. "I would encourage it."

In addition to Kennedy's response, Virginia State Senator Elizabeth Guzman delivered the party's official Spanish-language response, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) delivered a live-streamed response, Rep. Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) gave a response speech on BET, and former former Rep. Donna Edwards (D., Md.) gave a speech on behalf of the Working Families Party.

Kennedy also said he was hopeful Democrats would unify in time for the 2018 midterm elections and 2020 elections.

"I think as we get tighter and tighter into this midterm election, and then clearly building to 2020, I think you'll see those folks unify behind, certainly, these midterm elections and then certainly behind a nominee," Kennedy said. "It doesn't worry me at all."