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The Rundown

Skip Trump's SOTU and Watch the 'People’s State of the Union' Event Instead

Activists and celebrities like Mark Ruffalo and Alyssa Milano planned their own State of the Union counter-programming to President Trump's Congressional address.
The White House/Facebook

The State of the Union is an opportunity for the president to deliver an annual report to Congress on how well the country is doing and the most pressing matters that need to be addressed. Drinking games will be played and a fiery response will be given by the opposition party (in this case, red-headed Congressman Joe Kennedy III). Tomorrow, President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address, which comes at a pivotal time for the divisive leader to address Congress following a short-lived government shutdown hinged on protections for undocumented youth (known as Dreamers).


One year into Trump’s presidency it’s clear that not everyone has bought into his vision to make America great again, including many Republicans. The Trump administration lost some friends for engaging in unpresidential behavior, and pursuing broadly polarizing policies. That includes advocating for the repeal of Obamacare, rescinding rights for trans youth and trans military personnel, killing net neutrality, deregulating environmental protections in favor of the fossil fuel industry, rolling back reproductive health care, banning muslims and backing out of the Paris climate agreement.

Given Trump’s fire-and-fury style of leadership it’s unlikely that his State of the Union will have a bipartisan tone. Also, whether or not he will address the social uprisings from the past year such as the #MeToo movement, NFL protests, the Women’s March and DACA protests remains to be seen. According to Politico, members of the Senate have implored Trump to take more compassionate stance when laying out his blueprint for America, particularly when speaking about the Dreamers.

Although the speech he gave last year was seen as more presidential by many nationally elected officials on both sides of the aisle, Trump’s presidency has been seemingly tarnished with a series of scandals and a federal investigation into collusion with the Russians during his presidential campaign. It looks highly improbable that the president will be able to muster the same support as the year before.


In anticipation of a less-than-presidential speech, multiple progressive groups have planned counter-events the same day as the president delivers his speech in the House before all members of the Congress and his cabinet.

Several celebrities, including Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie Perez, and actor Mark Ruffalo — known for his environmental work — are expected to attend the 'People's State of the Union' event at New York's Town Hall, put on by organizations like the Women’s March,, and Stand Up America. Also, actress Alyssa Milano — who reignited Tarana Burke’s #MeToo movement against sexual assault — has planned another counter-State of the Union event called State of the Dream.

President Trump, who is known for his quick temper and itchy Twitter-fingers, hasn’t acknowledged the activist-led events.

What you can do:

The People’s State of the Union will kick off on Tuesday, January 30 at 9 p.m. EST and will be streamed live.

Alyssa Milano took to Twitter to encourage people to share the hashtag #StateOfTheDream and upload short videos in which users explain their “hopes and dreams for a progressive, inclusive America.”

And then some:

A few elected officials have chosen to boycott the State of the Union address to deliver a message to President Trump. Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), a Cuban immigrant, told through a spokesperson that he would not attend the event.

Sires joins seven other democrats— many of which took to Twitter— who announced that they would not be present for Trump’s speech.

The list includes reps. John Lewis, Maxine Waters, Frederica S. Wilson, Gregory Meeks, Pramila Jayapal, Jan Schakowsky and Earl Bluemenauer.