Penn Democrats gathered for a State of the Union Address watch party on Tuesday night, viewing with skepticism as President Donald Trump addressed the nation after the longest government shutdown in history, which ended more than a week ago.
The 1968 Wharton graduate promoted his signature policy of a United States-Mexico border wall, took credit for the strong economy and increased energy production, and railed against investigations aimed at his presidency. College Republicans also hosted a watch party in an off-campus house, but upon arrival, a Daily Pennsylvanian reporter was asked to leave.
At the Penn Dems watch party in Rodin College House, attendees stressed the importance of observing the event, despite their policy disagreements with Trump. During the speech, members also played a special themed game of bingo, with boxes featuring 'Trump claps for himself,' 'Make America Great Again,' and 'Job growth statistic.'
In the build-up to the address, some Democrats — including New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — suggested that people should pay attention to "none" of the State of the Union Address.
Penn Dems President and College sophomore EJ Carlson said the group decided to hold their watch party to ensure that the group is “keeping tabs on Trump.”
“Watching the State of the Union is something important for citizens in America, especially politically engaged citizens like Dems members,” Carlson said.
Penn Dems member and College sophomore Chase Serota noted how critical it was for Americans to watch the address, adding that the public should not "automatically rule him out since he's Trump."
In one memorable exchange after Trump saluted the gains of female workers, Democratic congresswomen rose in applause in their all-white attire inspired by suffragettes.
Serota said it was important that the congresswomen were wearing all white, referencing the record number of female legislators currently serving in Congress.
Despite some comments from Trump that aimed to unify the country, Penn Dems member and College sophomore Rachel Zaff said the mood in Congress was still decidedly partisan.
Others were not impressed with Trump's boast on the strong state of the U.S. economy.
Lexi Lewis, Penn Dems outreach director and College freshman, said Trump takes “way too much credit” for the improving economy.
“While the government can influence the economy in certain ways, I don’t think he should take credit for every single thing — it’s just capitalism," Lewis said.
The mood at the watch party was lighthearted throughout, with many Penn Dems members chatting and laughing at the speech.
As Trump passed the one-hour mark of the State of the Union, a member started to chant "We want Stacey," referencing former Georgia politician Stacey Abrams, who delivered the Democratic response which occurred after Trump finished his address.