Abrams to Give Democratic Response to Trump's State of the Union Address

Stacey Abrams / Getty Images
January 29, 2019

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams will deliver her party's response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address next week.

Abrams has been called a "rising star" by Democrats in recent months after she narrowly lost her bid for Georgia governor back in November. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said on Tuesday that he called Abrams three weeks prior to ask if she would deliver the Democratic response. Abrams publicly confirmed her interest Tuesday, saying she was "honored" to speak.

"At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response," Abrams tweeted.

The State of the Union address is scheduled for next Tuesday after it was delayed by a week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) blocked Trump from speaking on the originally scheduled date, Jan. 29, citing the partial government shutdown and security concerns. The speaker effectively rescinded her invitation with a letter sent to the president on Jan. 16, writing, "I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has reopened." CNN described what followed as a "dramatic back and forth" as Trump said he still intended to deliver the speech on the original date and Pelosi denied him access to the House chamber.

Trump and Pelosi ultimately agreed this week to hold the speech next Tuesday. The announcement followed the president signing legislation Friday to end the government shutdown.

Abrams' narrow loss ended on a contentious note, with the Democratic nominee levying unsubstantiated claims of voter disenfranchisement against her Republican opponent, Brian Kemp, and saying "democracy failed Georgia."

"Make no mistake, the former secretary of state was deliberate and intentional in his actions," Abrams said, referring to Kemp. "I know that eight years of systemic disenfranchisement, disinvestment and incompetence had its desired affect on the electoral process in Georgia."

Despite Abrams' claims of voter suppression, turnout in 2018 surpassed that of previous midterm years in Georgia, and voter registrations under Kemp, while he was secretary of state, grew by 20 percent.