Stacey Abrams will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week, an Abrams campaign source confirmed Tuesday, a role that will give the former gubernatorial candidate prominent national exposure as she mulls another statewide run for office.
The news was first reported by MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Abrams three weeks ago to ask her to deliver the live televised rebuttal, which typically airs within minutes of the annual presidential address.
The gig has been seen as something of a launching pad for rising political stars. Then-congressmen Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush earned national notoriety by delivering the GOP responses to President Lyndon Johnson’s speeches in the 1960s.
But it’s also a notoriously difficult assignment that some have dubbed the “worst job in politics.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, was ridiculed for his 2013 counter-address, not because of his policy points but an awkwardly timed water break. And many of the headlines generated from Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy’s speech last year focused on his glistening lips, not his larger point that Trump was taking a sledgehammer to American values.
The speech will be a high-profile moment for Abrams, who narrowly lost last year’s gubernatorial race to Republican Brian Kemp, as she mulls a potential run against Georgia Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue in 2020. She embarked on a “thank you” tour across the state earlier this month.