Senator Bernie Sanders, ignoring the fact that members of the House and Senate traditionally attend the State of the Union whether the president is of their party or not, is skipping President Trump’s State of the Union speech so he can lead a rally on Tuesday in Milford, a community near Nashua, New Hampshire. Trump’s speech will be delivered at the Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
On Sunday, Sanders told supporters, “I’ve got to be on a plane pretty soon going back to D.C.,” then reportedly traveled to Washington D.C. on Monday just before the Iowa caucuses started so he could attend Trump’s impeachment trial.
The Hill reported that for the third straight year, Sanders will deliver his own response to the SOTU, this time at 10:30 p.m. from the Currier Museum of Art Auditorium in Manchester. On Monday the Sanders campaign announced Sanders’ response in an email to reporters. The Hill stated, “The senator’s rebuttal on Tuesday will be separate from the Democratic Party’s official response, which will be given by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.”
In 2017 Sanders delivered his own response to Trump’s first joint address to Congress.
It is customary for one member of the president’s cabinet to skip the speech just in case of a catastrophe at the event, since the President, the Vice President, and other succeeding officers gather in the House chamber. Since the 9/11 attacks in 2001, a few members of Congress also do not attend for the same reason, so that a rump Congress could be formed in case of disaster, but that’s not the reason Sanders won’t be there. In 2003, the House and Senate started naming a separate designated survivor.
In 2019, Sen. Kamala Harris, (D-CA) who had already announced she was running for president, attended the speech, inviting Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, an air traffic controller who lost her home in the 2017 Thomas fire in Southern California. Harris wrote that she was “honored she will join me at the State of the Union.”
Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik was one of the more than 800,000 federal workers whose paychecks were withheld during the shutdown — and it happened while her family was still recovering from losing their home in the Thomas Fire. I’m honored she will join me at the State of the Union. https://t.co/N5kBRlHeDy
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 2, 2019
Sanders has no compunction about flying all over the place on private jets; as The Daily Wire has reported:
The Washington Free Beacon reports that Sanders’ campaign spent an astounding $1.2 million on private jets during the last quarter of 2019 — more, even, than former Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire presidential candidate, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sanders’ Federal Election Commission filings reveal that the “Democratic socialist” shelled out $1,199,579 to Apollo Jets, LLC, a “luxury private jet charter service,” per the Free Beacon, even though his own campaign views private air travel as one of the top contributors to climate change (and as a luxury of the rich, to boot). The campaign paid an additional $23,941 to a Virginia-based private pilot service.
“An analysis of private jet spending in filings from other top candidates found that Elizabeth Warren’s campaign spent $720,518 and Pete Buttigieg’s campaign spent $323,518,” the Free Beacon reports. “Michael Bloomberg, who pumped a whopping $200 million of his personal fortune into his campaign’s opening weeks, spent about $646,000 on private jet travel, about half of what Sanders spent.”