President Barack Obama delivered his eighth and final State of the Union speech as U.S. commander in chief to Congress on January 12th, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET. The State of the Union Address was broadcast live on television, radio, online, and through mobile streaming. The White House invited an undisclosed number of people to sit with First Lady Michelle Obama during the final address, and one seat was left vacant and reserved to represent “victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.”
The public reacted to the seat reservation, and it headlined across the internet one week prior to the event taking place. GOP presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, claimed that as president, he would leave an empty seat for the “over 50 million unborn children killed” since Roe v. Wade. Senator Cruz was among other politicians, like Rep. Steve King, to comment on the controversial topic. King said, “Obama’s grief for victims of shootings is fair, but it isn’t enough. He did shed tears for the victims of Sandy Hook, and I think that’s appropriate.”
“But as far as we know, he’s never shed a tear for the millions of unborn babies that have been aborted since he took office”.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 8, 2016
During his speech, Obama left the majority of Democrats and Republicans still in disagreement over these issues, with no final remarks during the State of the Union speech.
Gun violence and abortion were not among the issues discussed during the final State of the Union Address. President Obama did quote Pope Francis during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, “His Holiness, Pope Francis, told this body from the very spot I stand tonight that ‘to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.’ When politicians insult Muslims, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid bullied, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country. We the People.”
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) January 13, 2016
President Obama quoted Pope Francis on murder and hatred only months after Pope Francis announced that Priests should pardon women who have had abortions during confession but not deviate from the stance of the Catholic Church. In 2013, Pope Francis said, “All life has inestimable value even the weakest and most vulnerable, the sick, the old, the unborn and the poor, are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”
During the State of the Union address, President Obama said, “The future we want — opportunity and security for our families; a rising standard of living and a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids — all that is within our reach. But it will only happen if we work together. It will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates.”
“It will only happen if we fix our politics,” President Obama added. He made no comments to help “fix our politics” on abortion during his final address.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 13, 2016
The debate on abortion among other relevant issues will remain after the State of the Union Address without final remarks from President Obama. During the upcoming presidential election, citizens can research which politician in the running for president is either pro-life or pro-choice before voting at the polls.
[Image via Getty]