Democrats in Congress use speech invites to rile Trump
Health-care recipients. Immigrants with relatives who are barred from entering the United States. A champion of science education.
Some Democratic members of Congress from Virginia and Maryland are protesting the policy goals of President Trump and the Republican majority with the guests they plan to bring to his big speech Tuesday night.
A few of these members skipped Trump’s inauguration last month but have settled on a different approach to express their displeasure.
Here’s a sampling of the guests Democrats hope will send a message just with their presence in the House chamber:
* Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.)
Shannon Linford of Loudoun County has suffered from a neurological disorder since she was a child and benefited from the Affordable Care Act provision barring insurance companies from denying coverage to patients with preexisting conditions.
“I was born with it, my family and I would go into bankruptcy trying to give me basic care. My health is finally under good management. That would not have been possible were it not for the provisions in the ACA,” said Linford, 24.
* Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.)
The Rev. Keary Kincannon ministers to the homeless and others in need at Fairfax County’s Rising Hope Mission Church, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents recently arrested a group of undocumented immigrants as they were leaving the church’s overnight shelter program.
“Houses of worship and shelters are both places where the vulnerable come for sanctuary — to get out of the cold, or to get assistance because they are in a desperate situation. We should be helping them, not instilling fear that they could be targeted. Sacred places should remain sacred places,” Kincannon said.
* Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.)
Ola Ojewumi, a community health organizer and women’s health advocate, received heart and kidney transplants as a child, and benefited from provisions in the ACA when she developed cancer as an adult.
She was born and raised in Prince George’s County and now lives in Beltsville, Md.
* Rep. John P. Sarbanes (Md.)
Vincent DeMarco, a longtime advocate for public health causes and president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, will join Democrats this week in the Maryland legislature in support of a bill to protect state residents from congressional action undermining the Affordable Care Act. He teaches at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
* Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (Va.)
Farah Al-Khafaji is the sister of an Iraqi interpreter who was initially refused entry into the United States because of Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Her first husband was killed for working with the U.S. military in Iraq, and she later moved to Northern Virginia and married a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. Last month, she passed her U.S. citizenship test.
* Rep. Don Beyer (Va.)
As principal of Alexandria’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Evan Glazer runs one of the most diverse and competitive high schools in Northern Virginia. Minority students make up three-quarters of the enrollment and about 15 percent come from immigrant families.
* Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.)
At age 15, Claudette Monroy, a native of Torreon, Mexico, was brought with her younger sister to the United States by their mother.
As a “dreamer,” she was granted temporary protection to stay in the country and earned a bachelor’s degree studying economics and justice, peace and conflict at Eastern Mennonite University. She is working toward a master’s degree in education at George Washington University.