If the country didn’t know Stacey Abrams’s name before, they surely do now. The Georgia Democrat, whose close race for governor against Brian Kemp made national headlines last year, is the first nonsitting public official and first black woman to give the official State of the Union response, which she delivered Tuesday night from Atlanta after President Trump delivered his remarks. She opened with a story about her father, a shipyard worker, who once gave his only coat to a homeless man while walking home in the rain. “My reason for running for governor was simple,” she said. “I love our country and its promise of opportunity for all, and I stand here tonight because I hold fast to my father’s credo: together, we are coming for America, for a better America.”
From there, she discussed the importance of bipartisanship, gun control, and voting rights. She criticized the president’s proposed border wall and the Republican tax bill passed last year. She even brought up her debt when talking about the importance of healthcare.
“Even as I am very disappointed by the president’s approach to our problems, I still don’t want him to fail,” she said. “But we need him to tell the truth and to respect his duties and the extraordinary diversity that defines America.”
“That’s a wrap,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution political reporter Greg Bluestein tweeted just after the close of the 11-minute speech. “Here comes the flood of [reactions] from folks around the nation who haven’t seen her in action yet.”
And sure enough, Abrams’s name is once again splashed across national headlines from the Washington Post to the New York Times to CNN to Fox News. Here’s what Atlanta’s reporters, pundits, and politicos had to say:
Whew. Stacey Abrams delivers a substantive speech in front of a small union crowd near downtown Atlanta. Good delivery. No obvious blemishes — which is the most important thing for a future U.S. senate/gubernatorial candidate.
— Jim Galloway (@politicalinsidr) February 6, 2019
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) February 6, 2019
While we heard a positive message from @POTUS, Democrats sat on their hands. There is a stark contrast between the positive results we’ve seen under President Trump and Democrats’ radical policies that have been proven to fail. #SOTU
— David Perdue (@sendavidperdue) February 6, 2019
@staceyabrams Congratulations and thank you for delivering such a powerful and impactful message.
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) February 6, 2019
I appreciate Stacey Abrams (D-Not Governor of GA) talking in 2x speed to make up for the time lost to applause during President Trump's speech.
— Charlie Harper (@CharlieBHarper) February 6, 2019
A for Abrams' delivery. F for the creepy backdrop. And I disagree with her points, but she was wayyyyyy better than that Kennedy guy last year.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) February 6, 2019
Abrams' #SOTU response sends a clear message: progressives on the left will continue to push their radical agenda, revealing just how out of touch they are with the American people.
— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) February 6, 2019
— Senator Nikema Williams (@NikemaForSenate) February 6, 2019