The first week of February is set to be an eventful week in U.S. politics between the Iowa Caucus and the impeachment trail. But for Rev. Jethroe Moore III, tonight’s State of the Union address will mark the high point.
That’s because the San Jose-Silicon Valley NAACP president snagged an invite to the event as Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-Fremont) guest of honor.
The two men have known each other for nearly a decade and have worked together on a number of the congressman’s legislative priorities including the Peace Act, which changed the standard for use of force for federal officers. With the 2020 SOTU marking the past address of President Donald Trump’s first term, Khanna said he wanted to bring a guest who challenges 45’s thinking.
“I thought at a time where this president is polarizing our country along issues of race, when this president is dividing our country because the color of people’s skin or their nationality or their religion, I thought it was important to pick someone who stands for an opposite vision of America,” Khanna told San Jose Inside in an exclusive interview. “I view [Moore] as one of the real civil rights icons in our area.”
Moore said he and his family they are still awestruck by Khanna’s invitation. “To be able to attend a State of the Union Address at this most crucial time in our nation’s history and to sit in the hallowed halls where so many historical figures have stood for the rights of the underprivileged citizens of America will be awe-inspiring,” Moore said.
What Moore said he wants most of all this evening is to lock eyes with Trump.
“I want to be able to look at the president and [let him] know that people of color are not afraid of him,” he said. “Whether or not we want to admit it, America is in a cold civil war. …We’re fighting some of the same battles.”
The State of the Union address will air at 6pm Pacific Time tonight. After Trump’s speech, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar are slated to give the Democratic rebuttals.