National Democratic leadership revealed Tuesday that failed Georgia gubernatorial hopeful Stacey Abrams will deliver the party’s response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes claimed Tuesday morning that a “reliable source” told him that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Abrams three weeks ago to request that she deliver the Democratic response.
A reliable source tells me that Chuck Schumer called STACEY ABRAMS three weeks ago to ask her to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 29, 2019
National Journal Senate correspondent Zach Cohen later confirmed the news, reporting that Schumer told him he was “very delighted when [Abrams] agreed.”
Schumer confirms. “I was very delighted when she agreed.” https://t.co/WLuXgMlHqC
— Zach C. Cohen (@Zachary_Cohen) January 29, 2019
“Speaker Pelosi and I are going to issue an official statement shortly. But yes, three weeks ago I called Stacey Abrams and asked her to deliver the response to the State of the Union,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “She is just a great spokesperson, she’s an incredible leader, she has led the charge for voting rights, which is at the root of just about everything else.”
Stacey Abrams is a great spokesperson, incredible leader
She has led the charge for voting rights
She knows what working class & middle class people go through@SpeakerPelosi & I are excited she’s agreed to give the Democratic response to @realDonaldTrump’s State of the Union pic.twitter.com/wketlkrg1e
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) January 29, 2019
“And she really has, if you look at her background, she knows what working people, middle class people go through,” he added.
Abrams, who previously served as the minority leader of the Georgia House, rose to national prominence last year in her gubernatorial bid against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. After her defeat, Abrams turned heads when she initially refused to concede the race and then later filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia election officials, whom she said “grossly mismanaged” the midterm election.
A little-known fact about Abrams is that she moonlights as a romance novelist, and has written and published eight novels under the pseudonym Selena Montgomery.
“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 wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
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. https://t.co/0dpA3lJZpS
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 29, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) said she was “thrilled” to have Abrams deliver the Democratic response.
“Her electrifying message reinvigorated our nation and continues to inspire millions in every part of the country,” she said.
In an official statement released later in the day, Schumer added to his earlier comments by claiming that Abrams “offers a welcome, stark contrast to President Trump’s politics of division and lack of leadership as American families are still feeling the impacts of his self-imposed shutdown.”
Battleground State News political editor Steve Gill noted that the “only thing worse than the ‘Sports Illustrated cover jinx’ may be the ‘State of the Union Response jinx.'”
“Stacey Abrams lost the Georgia Governors race and it’s hard to see how delivering the response to President Trump will launch her expected race for the Senate in ‘20 with any sort of great burst,” he said. “The optics of Nancy Pelosi sitting behind President Trump while constantly glowering and sucking her teeth contrasted with Angel Moms and Dads in the gallery sitting alongside Border Security Agents is bad enough for the Democrats.”
“Then garnish the dish with the shots of the radical extremist Triple Threat in Congress — Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Omar — preening for the cameras and you have the perfect dish to rebound the President’s poll numbers,” Gill added. “If the Democrats add a dose of outburst or rude behavior it will be an almost perfect night for the Republicans.”
Due to the shutdown, Pelosi informed Trump that the State of the Union would be postponed until the shutdown ended, and it is now scheduled for February 5.
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