Boycotting President Trump's State of the Union Address

February 7, 2020
Enewsletters

Dear Friend, 
  
This week, I boycotted the impeached President’s State of the Union address because I don’t believe he is worthy of the dignity and respect accorded to his predecessors.  I also expressed disappointment at the President’s acquittal by the Senate while noting that a bipartisan majority of the Congress has voted either to impeach or convict him; commemorated Black History Month; questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray about hate crimes and the rise of right-wing extremists; presided at a hearing on the impact on our nation’s democracy of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling ten years ago; supported passage of the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act; received the Tennessee Alzheimer Leader Award; wrote to the President and spoke on the House floor about the lack of diversity in Trump Administration appointments; announced significant grants to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center; and offered a health tip. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on TwitterFacebook and Instagram to see more updates as they happen.  

Boycotting President Trump’s State of the Union Address  
Expressing Disappointment at Trump’s Acquittal on Impeachment Charges 
Commemorating Black History Month 
Questioning FBI Director Wray about Hate Crimes 
Chairing a Hearing on the Impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling 
Helping to Pass the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act  
Receiving Tennessee Alzheimer Leader Award  
Writing to President Trump about the Lack of Diversity in his Appointments 
Announcing Grants to St. Jude and UTHSC 
Health Tip 
Quote of the Week 


Boycotting President Trump’s State of the Union Address 
  
As I have on previous occasions, I refused to sit through President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. I knew that it would be, as Speaker Pelosi later said it was, “a manifesto of mistruths.” I was frankly offended at the carnival barker-reality show quality of the speech after listening through the years to stirring oratory and lofty ideas from past Presidents. Not attending sent the right message: the current President isn’t worthy to address Congress from that iconic podium. See a release about my decision here.  
 
Expressing Disappointment at Trump’s Acquittal on Impeachment Charges 
  
I was disappointed, but not surprised, at the Senate acquittal of the President on Wednesday. However, more than half the Congress has now voted either to impeach or convict him and his impeachment and abuses of power will always stain his presidency. I admire Senator Mitt Romney for being the one Republican senator willing to honor his oath and vote to convict. See my release on the acquittal here
 
Commemorating Black History Month 

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February is Black History Month, and it’s a pleasure to consider Memphis' rich history of African American pioneers in almost every field of human endeavor. See my release about recognizing heroes from the arts, music, sports and other fields here. This morning I went to the Library of Congress to commemorate Black History month and have a breakfast with “Featherlight pancakes” made from Rosa Parks’ own recipe. The Library of Congress is featuring Black History month on its website. See that here.  
  
Questioning FBI Director Wray about Hate Crimes 

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As a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, I questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray at an oversight hearing on Wednesday about hate crimes and the increase in white nationalists and right-wing extremists. I also asked him about the 1955 Emmett Till lynching and whether cold cases from that era are being re-opened. See my release about the hearing and my exchange with Wray here
  
Chairing a Hearing on the Impact of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling 

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It has been ten years since the Supreme Court released its disastrous ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. On Thursday, as Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, I presided over a hearing on the impact of that decision and how unlimited corporate and dark money is corrupting our political system.  See my release on the hearing, as well as my exchange with expert witnesses, here
  
Helping to Pass the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act   

Anecdotal evidence of the benefits of service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress or other service-related disabilities is overwhelming. That’s why I supported passage of the PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act on Wednesday, which will expand opportunities for veterans with PTSD to get involved with training and adopting service dogs. I was proud to cosponsor this important piece of legislation. See my release about the vote here

Receiving Tennessee Alzheimer’s Leader Award 

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Left to right: Blake Dorsett, the Congressional Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association; Bailey Jones, who works for the Alzheimer’s Association; Congressman Cohen; and Rachel Blackhurst with the Alzheimer’s Association.

On Monday, representatives of the Tennessee chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association presented me with the Tennessee Alzheimer’s Leader Award at my Memphis office. See my release about it here

Writing to President Trump about the Lack of Diversity in his Appointments 

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On Wednesday, I wrote to President Trump and urged him to consider diversity in his appointments, noting that his appointments to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors included no minorities. See a release on that letter and its text here. On Thursday, I went to the House floor to make the same point, noting that just six of Trump’s more than 200 nominees to the federal judiciary have been African Americans. See my release and video of the floor speech here
  
Announcing Grants to St. Jude and UTHSC 
  
On Thursday, I announced that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center would be receiving sizable U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grants. See that release here
  
Sign Up for “Congress on Your Corner” and this e-Newsletter      
  
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I enjoy meeting regularly with constituents in the district and helping get answers for them to questions about dealing with federal agencies. If you are interested in attending one of my “Congress on Your Corner” events, you can sign up here to receive a notification as soon as the next event is scheduled. My next “Congress on Your Corner” is Friday, February 28, at the Gaisman Community Center, 4221 Macon Road, Memphis 38122, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.   

For those who haven’t participated in a telephone town hall, it’s easy to sign up for them by using this form.     
    
If you would like to receive this weekly e-Newsletter, or share it with others, you can do that with this form.     
  
Health Tip 
  
No one likes to talk about it, but we have a serious and increasing problem with suicide in this country. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on suicide prevention and other resources here
  
Quote of the Week  
  
“We must not allow the United States to become a country where standing up to our government is a dangerous act. It has been shocking to experience the storm of criticism, lies and malicious conspiracies that have preceded and followed my public testimony, but I have no regrets. I did — we did — what our conscience called us to do. We did what the gift of U.S. citizenship requires us to do.” – Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, “These are Turbulent Times. But We will Persist and Prevail,” The Washington Post, February 5, 2020. 
  
As always, I remain
Most sincerely,

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Steve Cohen
Member of Congress