The Democratic party chose Joe Kennedy III to speak in response to Donald Trump‘s State of the Union address on Tuesday.


Kennedy, 37, is a third-term congressman representing an area of southeastern Massachusetts and a rising star in the Democratic Party. He is also the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, a great-nephew of President John F. Kennedy Jr. and Senator Edward M. Kennedy. While the party lines preach about diversity, the choice of Kennedy seemed an odd one.

Kennedy offered strong resistance to Trump and his administration. “Their record is a rebuke of our highest American ideal: the belief that we are all worthy, we are all equal and we all count,” Kennedy said. He spoke about the “hatred and supremacy” that are “proudly marching in our streets,” that Russia is “knee-deep in our democracy,” and how the Department of Justice is “rolling back civil rights by the day,” adding that the current administration “isn’t just targeting the laws that protect us — they are targeting the very idea that we are all worthy of protection.”

Kennedy did add a message to the Dreamers in Spanish, saying “You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.”


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Others in the Democratic Party wrote their own moving responses to Trump’s speech. “Donald Trump’s presidency has been a series of broken promises to the middle class and workers, a fact which tonight’s address did not change,” said Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) in a statement. “America isn’t stronger when Donald Trump tries to rip health care away from millions of Americans. Our future isn’t stronger when he gives away gigantic tax breaks to billionaires and giant corporations so there’s no money for education, infrastructure and the tools we need to succeed,” added Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).

2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders also chimed in: “The American people do not want a president who is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation.”

There are many prominent names within the Democratic Party who may become very important come 2020. Warren, Sanders, Cory BookerKristen Gillibrand and Kamala Harris are all active political participants and may even be gearing up to run for the presidency in the coming years. As for why these names weren’t chosen to speak on behalf of the party in Kennedy’s stead, the party would have been showing special favor toward a potential candidate.

Kennedy did not speak specifically of Trump in his speech on Tuesday night, but chastised the current administration nonetheless. He promised as best he could that the character of the people would eventually win out. “Here is the answer Democrats offer tonight: we choose both. We fight for both. Because the greatest, strongest, richest nation in the world shouldn’t leave anyone behind,” he said. “We choose a better deal for all who call this country home. We choose the living wage, paid leave and affordable child care your family needs to survive. We choose pensions that are solvent, trade pacts that are fair, roads and bridges that won’t rust away, a good education that you can afford, and a health care system that won’t leave you bankrupt. We choose an economy strong enough to boast record stock prices and brave enough to admit that top CEOs making 300 times the average worker is not right. We choose the thousands of American communities whose roads aren’t paved with power or privilege, but with honest effort, good faith, and the resolve to build something better for their kids. That is our story.”

Watch the entire speech below.

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