Politics

History of State of the Union boycotts

Published 6:10 PM ET, Tue January 30, 2018
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Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, sat out President Donald Trump's address to Congress in 2017, and the harsh Trump critic doesn't plan to attend his first State of the Union address either. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, protested President Barack Obama's policies in 2012 by boycotting the State of the Union address, citing Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, his position on the Keystone pipeline and defense cuts. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group/CQ-Roll Call,Inc.
Rep. John Shadegg, R-Arizona, skipped President Bill Clinton's 1999 address after his impeachment. Scott J. Ferrell/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Rep. Bob Schaffer, R-Colorado, skipped Clinton's 1999 address after his impeachment. Scott J. Ferrell/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Rep. Bob Barr, R-Georgia, skipped Clinton's 1999 address after his impeachment. Douglas Graham/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colorado, skipped Clinton's 1999 address after his impeachment. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, skipped Clinton's speech in 1998, days after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. Chris Kleponis/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The largest known boycott of a president's address came in 1971 by all 12 African-American members of the House. They had asked President Richard Nixon for a meeting, which they said he refused. In turn, they skipped his speech. Among them were these Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus, from left: Reps. Shirley Chisholm of New York, Bill Clay of Missouri, Charles Diggs of Michigan, Ron Dellums of California and Augustus Hawkins of California. They were joined by Reps. John Conyers of Michigan, Charlie Rangel of New York, Louis Stokes of Ohio, Robert Nix of Pennsylvania, George Collins and Ralph Metcalfe of Illinois, and Parren Mitchell of Maryland. Warren K Leffler/PhotoQuest/Getty Images