On Tuesday night, Trump delivered his State of the Union address, and part of his speech included honoring Charles McGee, a 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman, as well as his 13-year-old great-grandson, Iain, an aspiring Space Force cadet.
He said, “Sitting beside Iain tonight is his greatest hero of them all. Charles McGee was born in Cleveland, Ohio, one century ago. Charles is one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the first black fighter pilots, and he also happens to be Iain’s great-grandfather.”
McGee saluted President Trump, and most of the lawmakers in attendance stood to celebrate the former Tuskegee Airman. However, many were quick to notice that Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were firmly rooted in their seats.
Ben Jacobs, a political reporter, quickly shot off a tweet describing the scene he was witnessing. He wrote, “A small cluster of Democrats including Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Mark Pocan don't stand for Charles McGee, the former Tuskegee Airman introduced by Trump.”
Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, later tweeted: “The sickest thing to happen all night. Rashida Tlaib & Ilhan Omar refused to stand and clap for a 100 year old Tuskegee Airman, Charles McGee, a true American hero. I don’t care how much you hate the president. These women should be ashamed of themselves.”
The two were also notably seated during other announcements, including Trump surprising a fourth-grade student from Philadelphia with a scholarship and the celebration of the killing of Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.
At some point during Trump’s speech, Tlaib walked out of the House of Representatives, and stated that she was “triggered” by the president’s remarks. She later tweeted: “I walked out of that speech. The lies, the bigotry, and the shameless bragging about taking away food stamps that people depend on to live—it was all beneath the dignity of the office he occupies. Shame on this forever impeached president.”
Omar also walked out of the room soon after, and the two took a selfie outside. Omar uploaded the picture on Twitter with the caption: “This is what America looks like.”
In her subsequent interview on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Tlaib said: “I think, you know, even the mention of Brett Kavanaugh for me is a trigger, just as a woman in America. The fact that he, you know, rightfully was accused and having an incredibly strong woman come before the public and the world and tell her story of sexual assault by this person that was appointed to the Supreme Court is just alone, that — I couldn’t stand still and not do anything about it, and I needed to walk away from that.”
She maintained that Trump stating that Kavanaugh’s appointment was a success was her “tipping point” and she left the room.