President Barack Obama will give his final State of the Union address before Congress Tuesday night, and will leave a empty seat beside First Lady Michelle Obama as a symbol of his hatred of the Second Amendment and his inability to shred the Constitution on a whim. Of course, the White House phrases that intentional slight a bit differently.
President Obama will keep an empty seat next to the first lady on Tuesday when he gives his State of the Union address, to represent victims of gun violence, according to the White House.
Obama, who is trying to reduce gun violence by issuing a series of executive orders to tighten federal gun laws, announced the symbolic gesture Friday when talking on the phone with fellow supporters of more stringent gun-ownership laws.
A White House official said the president told the supporters the open seat in first lady Michelle Obama’s viewing box was for “the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice — because they need the rest of us to speak for them.”
Presidents have long invited prominent individuals and average Americans to sit with the first lady, often as a way to underscore a theme.
Obama, in his final 11 months of office, says he’s using his White House powers to change gun laws because Congress has failed to act.
The State of the Union addresses are given in the House chambers. And as an apparent attempt to express his dissatisfaction with Congress, Obama also said the open seat should serve to “remind every single one of our representatives that it’s their responsibility to do something about this,” the official said.
Obama intends to tighten the guns laws with a 10-point plan that side-steps Congress and focuses on requiring small-scaler sellers to get a federal license and submit background checks on potential buyers.
Obama lacks the constitutional authority to summarily redefine who is in the business of selling firearms, which has already been defined by federal law written by Congress. As much as our federal republican system of government frustrates and stymies President Obama, he is not a king or dictator, and cannot write law by fiat.
Put bluntly, his rhetoric demanding that people who only sell one or two guns a years obtain a federal firearms license is empty bluster, not law.
His empty seat is a final act of spite from perhaps the most petty individual to ever be elected to the Office of the President.
His final year cannot pass soon enough.