The White House will leave an empty seat in First Lady Michelle Obama’s State of the Union box Tuesday night to remember “the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.”
President Barack Obama gave an emotional speech last week to announce a set of “commonsense steps to reduce gun violence in American and make our communities safe,” and the vacant seat is an effort to continue to put gun control in the spotlight.
“We leave one seat empty in the First Lady’s State of the Union Guest Box for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice – because they need the rest of us to speak for them,” the White House said in a statement. “To tell their stories. To honor their memory. To support the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the terrible ripple effect of gun violence – survivors who’ve had to learn to live with a disability, or without the love of their life. To remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this.”
But some of Obama’s opponents have used #EmptySeat to criticize the president: