Before Trump’s 2018 State of the Union: Democrats pitching for millennials

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The Capitol | AP file photo

WASHINGTON —Congressional Democrats and Republicans are scrambling for media attention before and after President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address on Tuesday – with Rep. Maxine Waters D-Calif., targeting millennials, hosting a pre-SOTU “media row” on Capitol Hill.

A look at how the media sausage is made, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle looking to get a cut of the large audience focusing on government and politics this evening. . . .

But first, here’s my guide to TV and online State of the Union coverage – plus a dash of SOTU history.


The fierce opposition Waters, 79, has mounted against Trump has given the outspoken lawmaker a profile among some younger voters who otherwise may never have heard of her. She is one of about a dozen Democrats who are boycotting Trump’s speech.

“To my utter surprise and delight I have been adopted by the millennial community, which has affectionately named me ‘Auntie Maxine’, and I have gained an understanding of the valuable ways in which these young people are using social media and the internet to voice their concerns about public policy, our government, and world events,” said Waters in a statement. “To that end, I am committed to being an enabler and a catalyst for millennials, ensuring that they have access to other elected officials and the legislative process, and that they also have an opportunity to be at the table to advise and develop public policy in the federal, state, and local government.”

Toward that end, Waters is hosting a “SOTU millennial media row” in the Rayburn House office building for two hours on Tuesday, starting at 5:30 p.m. ET.

The outlets sending reporters include, according to Waters’ offie, Grio, Mic, Vibe, Elle, Glamour, Cheddar, Mass Appeal, Teen Vogue and NowThis.

“Several will livestream the event and conduct interviews with members throughout the night. Others will report and speak with members for stories they will post later. Others will record small vignettes. Congresswoman Waters wants to create more opportunities to open up Congress to millennials,” Waters spokesman Twaun Samuel told the Sun-Times.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., is planning to do interviews from “millennial media row,” according to his spokesman, Doug Rivlin.


The House Republican Conference — an organization to boost message and policy measures backed by House GOP members invited reporters to cover newsmakers at their “media row” in the Longworth House office building, open for business three hours on Tuesday starting at 3 p.m. ET.

“Media Row will be a workspace and broadcast venue for news outlets covering President Trump’s State of the Union Address. House Republican lawmakers will be available for exclusive interviews and statements throughout Monday and Tuesday. Members will make both scheduled and unscheduled visits to Media Row to make statements and give updates on the latest news regarding the president’s State of the Union address. . . . The room is equipped to accommodate broadcast-quality live shots.”

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