With the news today that former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams would be delivering the Democratic rebuttal to President Trump’s newly rescheduled State of the Union address, the man who delivered last year’s Democratic response to Trump’s skewed vision of America chimed in with some advice.
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Earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer revealed that he had invited Abrams — who narrowly lost the Georgia governor’s race in a contest that was marred by allegations of African American voter suppression by her Republican opponent —to be the Democrat’s spokesperson, and Abrams enthusiastically accepted the honor.
At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response. https://t.co/0dpA3lJZpS
— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) January 29, 2019
Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), who gave the Democratic rebuttal last year, offered some hard learned lessons from his experience following up Trump’s performance on the media stage — lessons that featured practical advice, encouragement, and a bit of self-deprecating humor.
A little advice for @staceyabrams as she prepares our Democratic rebuttal:
-Be yourself, you’ll crush it
-He’ll talk longer than you expect so keep snacks handy
-Be the fighter we know you are
-Misplace your chapstick
-You have millions of Americans standing with you
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) January 29, 2019
Kennedy’s advice sounds like it would all be helpful for Abrams’ debut on the national stage as a Democratic standard bearer, but many people were left scratching their heads over the suggestion to “Misplace your chapstick.”
The comment was a humorous reference to the public humiliation Rep. Kennedy faced during his speech last year when an overzealous application of chapstick for his dry lips made it appear to many Republican trolls live tweeting his speech that he was drooling while he was speaking.
Rubio had his water
Kennedy has his drool
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) January 31, 2018
Droolin' Joe Kennedy. They aren't sending their best folks…
— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) January 31, 2018
While all the right-wing critics focused on the optics of Representative Kennedy’s speech, Democrats found the substance of his rebuttal inspiring.
Seeing a lot of this and frankly, no substantive critique of Joe Kennedy's speech. I think it's fair to say someone finally did well in that unenviable slot. https://t.co/UP5PDvervd
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) January 31, 2018
Hopefully, Stacey Abrams will heed the Massachusetts congressman’s tips and lay off the chapstick —as well as any other potential distractions from the content of her speech — and deliver a message that will overpower the stench of the lies that the President will surely be peddling to the American public in his widely viewed State of the Union address.
As Congressman Kennedy said, all Abrams has to do is be herself and she’ll crush it.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.