Dems pick Whitmer, Escobar for Trump State of Union response

WASHINGTON — (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Feb. 4. Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas will deliver the Spanish-language response.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer made the announcement Friday.

They praised Whitmer for her efforts to ensure clean drinking water is available in communities across Michigan, which was scarred by the 2014 water crisis in Flint. About 25,000 people have sued over the crisis, in which a change in the source of the city's water resulted in lead contamination.

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Whitmer, a former prosecutor who was sworn in as governor last year, defeated Republican state Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Trump ally. She had previously served as Democratic Leader in the Michigan state Senate and was the first woman to lead the Senate caucus.

Escobar, of El Paso, attended a protest rally in August ahead of Trump's visit to the city after a mass shooting at a Walmart killed 22 people. Police said the gunman specifically targeted Mexicans. Escobar spent two decades in local government before coming to Washington. She’s the first Latina to represent her district.

Trump has said he intends to deliver the State of the Union as scheduled despite his ongoing Senate impeachment trial.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a lawsuit against 17 PFAS manufacturers at the Attorney General's office in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Michigan sued 3M, DuPont and other companies for financial damages from contamination caused by potentially harmful “forever" chemicals that are turning up in drinking water across a state known for industrial manufacturing. (Joel Bissell/MLive.com/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)
Governor Gretchen Whitmer speaks after Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced a lawsuit against 17 PFAS manufacturers at the Attorney General's office in Lansing, Mich., on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Michigan sued 3M, DuPont and other companies for financial damages from contamination caused by potentially harmful “forever" chemicals that are turning up in drinking water across a state known for industrial manufacturing. (Joel Bissell/MLive.com/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP) (Joel Bissell)
FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Whitmer says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should do more to curb hate speech on the platform, days after a political page was shut down over racist, misogynistic posts advocating violence against Muslims and female Democrats. Whitmer went on social media Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, to post a letter to Zuckerberg in which she referenced the posts on Facebook. The creator of the anti-Whiter group deactivated it after the Metro Times in Detroit began asking questions. The publication identified dozens of posts promoting or threatening violence against Whitmer and others. A message seeking comment was left with Facebook. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2019, file photo, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Whitmer says Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg should do more to curb hate speech on the platform, days after a political page was shut down over racist, misogynistic posts advocating violence against Muslims and female Democrats. Whitmer went on social media Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, to post a letter to Zuckerberg in which she referenced the posts on Facebook. The creator of the anti-Whiter group deactivated it after the Metro Times in Detroit began asking questions. The publication identified dozens of posts promoting or threatening violence against Whitmer and others. A message seeking comment was left with Facebook. (AP Photo/David Eggert, File) (David Eggert)