Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic Party's rebuttal to President Donald Trump's second State of the Union address Tuesday night. While Abrams used much of the allotted time to tell her own story, she took several hits at the president and Republicans — earning praise from her own party with a speech widely panned by conservatives.
What are the details?
Abrams, who served as the minority leader in the Georgia state House of Representatives, began by talking about her upbringing and the values instilled on her family by her parents, sharing an anecdote about her father giving his only coat to a homeless man. She explained that she ran for governor in Georgia last year because of her love for America "and its promise of opportunity for all."
Abrams then took aim at Trump, saying the recent government "shutdown was a stunt, engineered by the president of the United States, one that betrayed every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people but our values."
Before calling for further gun control laws and addressing student loan debt, Abrams asserted, "This White House responds timidly while first graders practice active shooter drills and the price of higher education grows ever steeper."
The Democrat went on to claim the GOP tax cuts are hurting American families.
"Families hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn't understand it," she said. "Under the current administration, far too many hard-working Americans are falling behind, living paycheck to paycheck, most without labor unions to protect them from even worse harm."
She added, "The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming, and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living."
The bedrock of Abrams' speech was to emphasize her fight against voter suppression, which she blames for her narrow gubernatorial loss to Republican Brian Kemp.
On social issues, Abrams called Roe v. Wade "a measure of reproductive justice," saying, "We must never forget: it is immoral to allow politicians to harm women and families to advance a political agenda."
She added that while America "affirmed marriage equality...the LGBTQ community remains under attack."
"So even as I am very disappointed by the president's approach to our problems," Abrams continued, "I still don't want him to fail. But we need him to tell the truth, and to respect his duties and respect the extraordinary diversity that defines America."
How did the right respond?
Townhall's Beth Baumann wrote that the Democrat's "response was focused on Abrams personal story. And while she tried to use her own anecdotal experiences to deliver a message, it came off as selfish and rather narcissistic."
Baumann called Abrams' response to the State of the Union "bizarre" and "based on lies."
Fred Lucas from The Daily Signal refuted Abrams' criticism of Trump's tax cuts, her blame of the government shutdown on the president, and her claims of voter suppression. Lucas pointed to an analysis from The Heritage Foundation showing the average taxpayer actually "saw a tax cut of $1,400," cited a number of times President Trump offered to compromise with Democrats to open the government, and noted that voter ID laws have not — in fact — hurt voter turnout.
Conservative writer and radio host Erick Erickson tweeted during Abrams' speech that she was telling "half-truths to talk down the economy her party just gave a standing ovation to in Congress."
The President had actual economic data to show the economy is doing great and the Democrats are left to use a forme… https://t.co/QBlpAapNv0— Erick Erickson (@Erick Erickson)1549424734.0
But Erickson wasn't entirely critical, praising the Democrat's delivery and saying her performance was markedly better than last year's rebuttal delivered by Rep. Joe Kennedy II (D-Mass.).
A for Abrams' delivery. F for the creepy backdrop. And I disagree with her points, but she was wayyyyyy better th… https://t.co/WZTqOxpEg4— Erick Erickson (@Erick Erickson)1549425352.0
Radio host Joe "Pags" Pagliarulo tweeted mid-speech, "Why is #StaceyAbrams lying about the economy? Those were flat our lies. Disgusting."
Why is #StaceyAbrams lying about the economy. Those were flat out lies. Disgusting— Joe Pags Pagliarulo (@Joe Pags Pagliarulo)1549424748.0
Reporter Ryan Saavedra from The Daily Wire also noted the Democrat's focus on her own story and called Abrams' speech "nothing but partisan," saying "she's still whining that she lost a free and fair election."
Stacey Abrams is supposed to be giving the Democrats' response to Trump, she's mostly just talking about herself— Ryan Saavedra (@Ryan Saavedra)1549424887.0
President Donald Trump's State of the Union address was mostly non-partisan and focused on unity. Stacey Abrams' r… https://t.co/IJZW7HHtb6— Ryan Saavedra (@Ryan Saavedra)1549425122.0
Pollster Richard Baris declared, "The rebuttal by Stacey Abrams was not a pitch to mainstream Americans. It was part self-explanatory for refusing to concede, and part off the rails incoherent."
It's always hard to follow a president's #SOTU. But that is usually because of optics and grandeur, not the message… https://t.co/iZycyUymRM— Richard Baris (@Richard Baris)1549425637.0
Mike Ford of RedState said Abrams' "speech was less than honest," writing that "no less than FactCheck.org called [Abrams] out on her falsehoods remarking that she had, 'presented a distorted picture of the U.S. economy.'"
Donald Trump 2020 presidential campaign adviser Dr. Gina Loudon said Abrams' rebuttal was "all about herself," while Big League Politics' Patrick Howley wrote a piece about how Abrams' speech was "creepy."
The President tonight was deferential, respectful, complimentary, funny, inviting & warm, while Democrats cheered l… https://t.co/RU4mn2QOfa— Dr Gina (@Dr Gina)1549427544.0
How did the left respond?
Democrats praised the rebuttal on Twitter, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying Abrams "did a masterful job," and calling President Trump's State of the Union address "out-of-touch."
We just finished watching the #AbramsAddress here in my office at the Capitol, and we’re all in agreement:… https://t.co/H69LD4Ro94— Nancy Pelosi (@Nancy Pelosi)1549425856.0
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) hailed the speech as "uplifting" in contrast to Trump's address, which he called "political, divisive, and at times even nasty."
The contrast between the President’s speech & Stacey Abrams’ speech was stunning. The President was political, div… https://t.co/4KuDf03kRU— Chuck Schumer (@Chuck Schumer)1549469369.0
Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) tweeted that Abrams "achieved in a matter of minutes something Donald Trump failed to do in over an hour — to embrace and give voice to the spirit and core values that make America great."
Stacey Abrams achieved in a matter of minutes something Donald Trump failed to do in over an hour -- to embrace and… https://t.co/90Zap1XMld— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1549426418.0
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