Who is skipping the State of the Union address?

Plenty of politicians in Washington are looking forward to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night, but at least one will not be in attendance at all.

Rep Mary Miller of Illinois announced in an interview with the far-right outlet Breitbart last Saturday that she is boycotting the speech, calling Mr Biden a liar and blaming him for percieved immigration, military, and energy crises in the country.

“I’m not going to sit there and listen to him lie and watch the media and other members of Congress applaud his lies,” Ms Miller, a second-term Republican, said.

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Ms Miller told Breitbart that she gave her ticket for the event to a former colonel in the US military who was forced to leave his job when he refused to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Ms Miller’s decision to boycott the speech in protest of the president is not without precedent. A number of Democratic members of the House of Representatives boycotted former President Donald Trump’s final State of the Union address in 2020, while a handful of members like Rep Earl Blumenauer and Rep Al Green of Texas boycotted multipe Trump addresses.

With the exception of Mr Trump’s tumultuous four years in office, boycotts of the State of the Union have been relatively uncommon. Rep Doug Lamborn of Colorado boycotted Barack Obama’s address in 2012, angered by Mr Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) and energy policies, while a number of Republicans boycotted Bill Clinton’s speech shortly after impeaching him in 1999.

Per CNN, the largest coordinated boycott of the State of the Union to date came in 1971 when the then-newly formed Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) declined to attend Richard Nixon’s address after the president refused to meet with them. The CBC had 12 members in 1971, including Rep Shirley Chisholm, who, that summer, would become the first Black woman to run for president.