Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who made headlines in 2015 when she dozed off during Barack Obama's State of the Union speech, was conspicuously absent Tuesday from President Donald Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress. And she may have skipped it on purpose.
Ginsburg got in spats with Trump during the campaign, and a spokeswoman confirmed to Bloomberg News ahead of the speech that she would not attend.
"He is a faker," she said about Trump in July. "He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego. ... How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that."
Speaking out in such a manner is not typical for a Supreme Court judge, and Ginsburg, who is beloved by liberals, later said in a statement, that "on reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them."
Ginsburg, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton, went to all eight of Obama's speeches but skipped those of George W. Bush, according to Bloomberg.
Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, both conservative justices, also did not attend Trump's speech Tuesday, which is their usual practice. The broadcast of the night appeared to confirm the three justices skipped the event.
Heading into the address Tuesday, Trump indicated his speech would take a more uplifting tone but that it would also go after the Obama legacy.
"And we'll be talking about many different subjects — and as much in a up-tone is the fact that I inherited a mess," Trump told the far-right website Breitbart, which was formerly led by the president's top strategist Steve Bannon. "It's a mess, whether it's the Middle East or it's Obamacare — where costs are out of control — or it’s so many other things. I mean, things are much different than people thought, and people get it. We’re going to fix it. The important part is we're going to fix it."
The speech Tuesday appeared to follow, for the most part, the script of a the prepared text. Trump opened by preaching unity before going into things such as drugs, border policy and job creation.
The address, while not an official State of the Union address, was a landmark moment for Trump. Ever since Ronald Reagan, a GOP icon, presidents have delivered remarks after about one month in office, aiming to tell the public exactly what to expect and hope for.
The Trump camp planned to do the same, writing in an email to supporters the president was "taking the podium to voice your concerns, thoughts, and opinions about the state of our nation, and more importantly, to lay out a bold plan for our future as Americans."
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