Using Empty Chairs To Make A Political Point Isn't Anything New
The president will leave an empty seat at his last SOTU for victims of gun violence, but he isn't the first to use the imagery to prove a point.By Eugene Daniels | January 8, 2016
President Obama has announced one seat during his last State of the Union would be left empty to "honor the victims of gun violence," in a demonstration of his seriousness about his new executive action on gun control. (Video via The White House)
The empty seat is a powerful rhetorical image — and one that's been used by politicians since the 1920s to drive a political point home.
The last intentionally empty chair at the State of the Union was placed behind then-first lady Laura Bush's box during the 2003 address. The White House said it "symbolizes the empty place many Americans will always have at their tables and in their lives because of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001." (Video via C-SPAN)