The other empty State of the Union chair: Steve King dedicates empty seat to "aborted babies"

While Obama's empty seat draws attention to victims of gun violence, one Iowa Republican commemorates fetuses

By Sophia Tesfaye

Senior Politics Editor

Published January 12, 2016 9:54PM (EST)

                              (Reuters/Larry Downing)
(Reuters/Larry Downing)

Right-wing extremist and Iowa congressman Steve King plans to personally boycott tonight's final State of the Union address by President Obama, giving up his seat to mimic the despised president's rhetorical tool of an empty seat -- to honor aborted fetuses.

It has been widely reported that a coveted seat in Michelle Obama's box tonight will be dedicated to victims of gun violence, a theatrical maneuver meant to highlight the president's singular push on expanded gun control. In response and apparent protest, Rep. King announced on Tuesday that although he, himself, will "be in the Member's chapel praying for God to raise up a leader whom he will use to restore the Soul of America," rather than joining in the bicameral, bipartisan annual event, he plans to save a seat in the House gallery to commemorate "the lives of more than 55 million aborted babies."

Calling President Obama the "most pro-abortion president ever," King announced his plans in a statement released hours before tonight's seventh, and final State of the Union address by the president. “I have reserved it to commemorate the lives of more than 55 million aborted babies, 'the chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world.'"

King, whose Republican presidential candidate of choice, Ted Cruz, also decided to skip out on tonight's address, criticized the president for daring to shed tears over the lives of first graders murdered in Newtown while supporting access to abortion.

"The first tears we have seen him shed in seven years were for the victims of the tragic Sandy Hook School shooting. As far as we know, Obama has never shed a single tear for even one of the more than 9 million babies aborted under his watch."

It appears King took the cue for his stunt from Cruz -- whom he has endorsed -- and who tweeted plans for a similar stunt last week:


By Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's senior editor for news and politics, and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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