Historically, Sen. Bernie Sanders has delivered a speech in response to the State of the Union. But will he be delivering a speech in response to President Joe Biden’s first address to Congress? As of the time of publication, Sanders had not announced any plans to deliver a speech. However, another progressive group has said that they will do so.
Sanders Has Historically Given a Response to Trump’s SOTU Speeches
In the past, Sanders has historically given his own speech in response to Trump’s State of the Union speeches, even if he wasn’t the person designated to give the Democrats’ official response to the State of the Union.
Biden’s speech on April 28 is technically the same as the State of the Union, but in a President’s first year it is simply referred to as a speech to a joint session of Congress.
As of the time of this article’s publication, Sanders has given no indication that he plans to give a response this year.
The Hill reported that Sanders is not currently set to deliver any kind of response to Biden’s speech this year.
Sanders gave responses to Trump’s speeches in 2018, 2019, and 2020. In 2019, there was some controversy because his speech followed Stacey Abrams’ official DNC response. Misinformation even circulated that Sanders’ speech began at the same time, but it did not begin until after Abrams’ speech was finished.
In 2020, Sanders skipped the State of the Union in order to host a rally and he delivered his response to Trump’s speech there. His speech began shortly after the Democrats’ response to the SOTU. He made sure to wait to start his speech until the Democrats’ speech was over before beginning his.
The Working Families Party Is Delivering a Response This Year
This year, progressives are delivering a response to Biden’s speech through The Working Families Party, NBC News reported. Rep. Jamaal Bowman will be speaking on behalf of the group after Biden’s response.
Bowman said about the speech: “It’s a balancing act. He’s already done a lot that I love. And he’s going to say a lot of things that I like, as well. But if we relent, it doesn’t mean that what’s been going on so far is going to continue. It’s important for us as progressives to continue to push and continue to organize.”
It’s a little unusual for someone from the same party to deliver a response, NBC News reported. The Working Families Party had previously given responses to Trump’s speeches also.
Bowman and 40 of his colleagues wrote a letter to Biden asking the Department of Justice to reopen a civil rights investigation into the death of Tamir Rice, following the conviction of Derek Chauvin, Bowman’s website noted. Trump’s Department of Justice had closed the investigation in December 2020, saying there was insufficient evidence to show that officers had obstructed justice or Rice’s constitutional rights were violated. Rice was shot and killed by police in November 2014. He was 12-years-old nad was playing with a toy air pellet gun near a playground, and was shot within two seconds of officers’ arriving.