In SOTU Response, Kennedy Accuses Trump of Dividing US

He slams administration's 'false choices'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2018 11:08 PM CST
Updated Jan 31, 2018 12:02 AM CST
In this July 26, 2017, photo, Rep. Joe Kennedy III smiles on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
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(Newser) – The Democratic response to this year's State of the Union address was delivered by a Kennedy for the first time since Ted Kennedy joined a group of senators responding to Ronald Reagan in 1982. Speaking at a vocational high school in Fall River, Mass., Rep. Joe Kennedy III accused President Trump of dividing the country, NBC News reports. "Many have spent the last year anxious, angry, afraid. We all feel the fractured fault lines across our country," he said. He said the last year has been far bigger than politics or partisanship. "This administration isn't just targeting the laws that protect us," said Kennedy, the 37-year-old grandson of Robert F. Kennedy. "They're targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection."

Kennedy didn't mention Trump by name, though he attacked his administration for believing that dignity can be measured by your "net worth, your celebrity, your headlines, your crowd size," as well as "the gender of your spouse, the country of your birth, the color of your skin, the God of your prayers," the Boston Globe reports. "We are bombarded with one false choice after another: coal miners or single moms, rural communities or inner cities, the coast or the heartland," Kennedy said. "So here is the answer Democrats offer tonight: We choose both. We fight for both." He said that while bullies "may land a punch," they have never, in the history of the US, "managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defense of their future." Click for the full text of his speech. (Read more Joe Kennedy III stories.)

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