The grandson of Robert F. Kennedy slammed Donald Trump’s administration in the Democratic response to the State of the Union, smacking his shiny lips together and blaming the president for turning the country into a ‘zero-sum game.’
Rep. Joe Kennedy III, who was overzealous with his lip gloss application Tuesday night – much to the delight of the internet – spoke from Fall River, Massachusetts, and addressed Americans’ concerns that Trump’s heated rhetoric has turned the country into us-versus-them.
‘Where in order for one to win, another must lose,’ Kennedy said. ‘As if the mechanic in Pittsburgh and the teacher in Tulsa and the daycare worker in Birmingham are somehow bitter rivals, rather than mutual casualties of a system forcefully rigged for those at the top.’
Rep. Joe Kennedy, a congressman from Massachusetts and the grand son of the late Robert F. Kennedy delivered the Democratic response to President Trump’s State of the Union address
Rep. Joe Kennedy talked about how he believed the administration had turned the country into a zero-sum game, meaning that for one American to win, another had to lose
He told audience members, and the greater public, that the Democratic Party chose ‘both’ – for both the parent of a transgender student and a parent of an opioid addict
‘As if the parent who lies awake terrified that their transgender son will be beaten and bullied at school is any more or less legitimate than the parent whose heart is shattered by a daughter in the grips of opioid addiction,’ Kennedy said.
While President Trump spent part of the State of the Union telling Americans they can ‘achieve absolutely anything’ while touting the strong economy, Kennedy said he’s seen Americans, over the past year, feeling ‘anxious, angry, afraid.’
‘We see an economy that makes stocks soar, investor portfolios bulge and corporate profits climb but fails to give workers their fair share of the reward,’ the 37-year-old congressman added.
The young Democrat condemned Russia being ‘knee-deep in our democracy’ and ‘hatred and supremacy proudly marching in our streets,’ a reference to what happened in Charlottesville in August 2017, when a counter-protester was run down by a Nazi sympathizer and President Trump referenced good people on ‘both sides.’
‘Bullets tearing through our classrooms, concerts and congregations. Targeting our safest, sacred places,’ Kennedy continued. ‘And that nagging, sinking, feeling, no matter your political beliefs: this is not right. This is not who we are.’
In its choice of Kennedy, the Democratic Party, looked back to its past and toward the future.
The congressman said it would be easy to blame partisanship and politics or dismiss the last year as ‘chaos.’
‘But it’s far bigger than that,’ he warned. ‘This administration isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us – they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protections.’
‘For them, dignity isn’t something you’re born with but something you measure: By your net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size,’ he said. ‘Not to mention the gender of your spouse, the country of your birth, the color of your skin, the God of your prayers.’
Kennedy railed that that was against the American ideal, in which people are equal and worthy.
‘But today that promise is being broken,’ he said. ‘By an administration that callously appraises our worthiness and decides who makes the cut and who can be bargained away.’
Democrats, he pledged, wouldn’t choose one American over the other.
‘We choose both. We fight for both,’ he said. ‘Because the strongest, richest, greatest nation in the world shouldn’t leave any one behind.’
A millennial in his own right, the congressman joined Snapchat this week to detail his preparation for the speech.
But older Democrats likely appreciated that Kennedy is living up to his family name, as he’s the grand son of Robert F. Kennedy, which would make President John F. Kennedy and Sen. Ted Kennedy, the congressman’s late great uncles.
The speech is one of the most tricky to handle in politics, as it’s sometimes predicted future success – though has also produced some unshakable meme-worthy moments.
Both Speakers Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan delivered a State of the Union rebuttals before gaining the speaker’s gavel.
In 2016, President Obama’s last year in office, the Republicans put out then South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
She’s since gone on to become the country’s ambassador to the United Nations.
Sure, Sen. Marco Rubio rose in prominence after he delivered the Republicans’ counter-argument in 2013, but he still gets picked on over how he awkwardly sipped water mid-address.
And Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Louisiana Republican, is barely on the political radar these days, after flubbing his 2009 response to President Obama’s first joint address before Congress.
Jindal’s lasting impression on pop culture-savvy Americans was his strong resemblance to the 30 Rock character Kenneth the Page.
Kennedy will have the challenge of pre-writing a response, before actually hearing President Trump’s State of the Union.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent and a 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful, will make his own counter-argument against President Trump’s speech in real time Tuesday night
Rep. Maxine Waters will appear Wednesday night on BET, a full 24 hours after President Trump’s speech, to give yet another Democratic counterpoint
Donna Edwards, who had served in the U.S. House before launching an unsuccessful Senate bid, will be delivering a rebuttal on behalf of the Working Families Party, as she runs for office in Maryland’s Prince George’s County
And this year, he’ll have lots of competition among members of his own party as well.
The Democrats officially sanctioned Virginia Del. Elizabeth Guzman to give the Spanish version of the party’s rebuttal speech.
But Sen. Bernie Sanders, taking the opportunity for a second year in a row, will bark his own response to the left-wing of the party, reacting to Trump’s speech in real time.
Rep. Maxine Waters, who has become famous among millennials as of late, is to deliver a response to Trump too, doing it from a perch at BET Wednesday night, a whole 24 hours after the president’s speech.
Waters will join former CNN pundit Angela Rye for a State of the Union special.
And finally former Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, whose bid for the Senate in 2016 was quashed by fellow Democrat Chris Van Hollen, will give her own speech.
Edwards, who is running for Prince George’s County executive, is giving her rebuttal on behalf of the Working Families Party, the Washington Post said.