Right-Wing Media Criticize President Obama's Decision To Honor Victims Of Gun Violence At The State Of The Union

Right-wing media are mocking President Obama's decision to honor victims of gun violence during his January 12 State of the Union address by leaving an empty seat in First Lady Michelle Obama's guest box, calling the decision “dangerous” and “empty rhetoric.”

White House Announces It Will Leave A Vacant Seat For The Victims Of Gun Violence During State OThe Union Address

White House Office OThe Press Secretary: An Empty Seat Will Be Left “For The Victims Of Gun Violence Who No Longer Have A Voice.”   A January 10 White House press release announced that the Obama administration will “leave one seat empty in the First Lady's State of Union Guest Box for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice” :

Last week, the President took a series of commonsense steps to help reduce gun violence in America and make our communities safer.

We leave one seat empty in the First Lady's State of the Union Guest Box for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice - because they need the rest of us to speak for them. To tell their stories. To honor their memory. To support the Americans whose lives have been forever changed by the terrible ripple effect of gun violence - survivors who've had to learn to live with a disability, or without the love of their life. To remind every single one of our representatives that it's their responsibility to do something about this. [White House Office of the Press Secretary, 1/10/16]

Everytown for Gun Safety Promotes #EmptySeat Hastag To Help Americans “Honor Loved Ones They Have Lost To Shootings”

The Washington Post: "'Empty Seats' Fill Social Media As Families Remember Loved Ones Lost To Gun Violence." In a January 12 article, The Washington Post highlighted that the #EmptySeat hashtag is being promoted on Twitter by Everytown for Gun Safety “to remember loved ones ... lost to shootings” :

There will be an empty seat among first lady Michelle Obama's guests at the State of the Union on Tuesday night in remembrance of the victims of gun violence, the White House announced last week.

Americans flocked to social media Monday, using the hashtag #EmptySeat, to remember loved ones they have lost to shootings. The initiative is being led by Everytown for Gun Safety, a New York-based nonprofit that advocates for increased gun-control measures.

[...]

The last time a seat at the Seat of the Union was intentionally left empty was in 2003, when Laura Bush's box had an open seat symbolizing “the empty place many Americans will always have at their tables and in their lives because of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.”

Obama's announcement about the empty seat planned for his final State of the Union address came at the end of a week in which he issued an executive order to implement new restrictions on gun sales across the country. [The Washington Post1/12/16]

Conservative Media Criticize President Obama's Decision To Honor Victims Of Gun Violence At The State Of The Union

Fox News' Outnumbered:  “That Empty Chair Is Very Dangerous.”  During the January 11 edition of Fox News Outnumbered, co-host Melissa Francis called Obama's decision to have an empty seat “very dangerous” before falsely attacking Obama for supposedly not “inviting families of the victims from San Bernardino.” Ryan Reyes, whose partner Daniel Kaufman saved four people's lives during the San Bernardino mass shooting before losing his own life, is invited:

KENNEDY (CO-HOST): We're just one day away from President Obama's seventh and final State of the Union. And we have preview what to come with list of special guests it includes a Syrian refugee, a former illegal immigrant, one of the men who stopped a gunman on Paris-bound train and the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case legalizing gay marriage. There will also be an empty seat for victims of gun violence. The White House says the speech will focus on the issues and challenges ahead.

[...]

MELISSA FRANCIS (CO-HOST): I was wondering, he's going to have that empty seat there, is that the chair that he is supposed to be filling on global stage in the war against ISIS? I mean that empty seat --

KENNEDY: It's Clint Eastwood's chair from the Republican National Convention.

FRANCIS: I mean there is a lot of things, that empty chair is very dangerous. Shouldn't he be inviting families of the victims from San Bernardino? I mean, he's going to say that chair is for victims of gun violence. He is going to try to totally set the tone. I think it is another one of those things where the people who like him will watch it and hear what they want to hear and he is so deep into his presidency that the people who don't like him will turn it off and do anything else and you know that it's going to be more of what we've heard all along. One thing we realize about him, is that he digs deeper into what he is doing. He is not going to change his ways. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 1/11/16]

Fox News' Todd Starnes: “How Many Seats Will Obama Leave Vacant To Honor The Unborn Victims Of Planned Parenthood?”  In a January 12 tweet, Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes asked “How many seats will Obama leave vacant to honor the unborn victims of Planned Parenthood?” :

[Twitter, 1/12/16]

The Blaze's Dana Loesch: “Clint Did It Better #EmptySeat.”  In several tweets on January 12, Dana Loesch, who is also a commentator for NRA News, called President Obama's decision to leave a seat vacant for victims of gun violence during the State of the Union “empty rhetoric,” and suggested that an empty seat should instead be left for “Americans, Israelis endangered by Iran's Obama-funding nuke program” :

[Twitter, 1/12/161/12/161/12/16]

Glenn Reynolds: “GOP Should Have Empty Chair For Ambassador Stevens.”  In a January 8 tweet,  conservative blogger Glenn Reynolds, who uses the pseudonym Instapundit, tweeted that the “GOP should have empty chair for Ambassador Stevens”  -- a reference to Ambassador Chris Stevens, who lost his life in the 2012 Benghazi terror attack:

[Twitter, 1/8/16]

RedState: "SOTU: The Empty Chair Leaving An Empty Chair." A January 10 article from right-wing website RedState.com labeled President Obama's decision to leave a seat empty during the State of the Union address “all a show” and added that "[i]t's rather fitting that President Obama leaves an empty seat at the State of the Union on Tuesday, since his presidency and policies themselves are empty":

In an effort to establish some sort of legacy, President Obama will leave an empty seat for victims of gun violence.

I know what you're thinking. The Empty Chair will try to make a point...with an empty chair.

[...]

If last week was any indication, the president yearns for addressing the supposed evil of guns to be a large part of his legacy. Not only did he cry, and leave slobbering liberals doing the same, but he attempted to connect with all of America through a “Guns In America” town hall held by administration cheerleader, CNN. Practically addressing gun crime, or any crime for that matter, is never a bad thing, but Obama didn't even do that. He seems to believe that background checks are 1. not currently in place, or 2. something he came up with. And Democrats just glow. He is saving America, and all its children, right? No. It's all a show.

[...]

It's rather fitting that President Obama leaves an empty seat at the State of the Union on Tuesday, since his presidency and policies themselves are empty. [RedState.com, 1/10/16]

The Washington TimesEmpty Seat Just “Political Optics That Will Accomplish Not Very Much.”  In a January 11 article, The Washington Times claimed Obama's recently announced executive actions on gun violence,  “like his empty seat next to Michelle, are political optics that will accomplish not very much” :

The president has reserved an empty seat next to the first lady in the House gallery as a symbol of “the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.”  Mr. Obama's executive orders to further restrict the ownership of guns was enacted, he says, to prevent mass shootings like those in Connecticut, South Carolina and California, but those massacres were done with guns obtained with proper buyer background checks. Americans support “common-sense” gun laws, but the president's executive orders, like his empty seat next to Michelle, are political optics that will accomplish not very much. [The Washington Times1/11/16]