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George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley criticized four lawmakers who announced they're boycotting President Donald Trump's state of the union address.

Turley noted that legislators do not need to be present, nor does President Trump.

He said the state of the union may be delivered as a written statement, which was the preference of President Jefferson and often the norm until President Wilson began attending in-person.

"Having said that, it's a long tradition. The members have to distinguish between the officeholder and the office," Turley said.

Turley said Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) represent their constituents and not a "moral" authority of sorts.

"It's not about them," he said.

Turley said the state of the union is one of the few times the American government can be seen as unified

"People are really upset with their government. [They're] not confident their government is able to work together," he said, calling attending the address an "institutional responsibility."

In the past, Democrats have worn white to a 2017 address by President Trump and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) yelled "you lie" at President Obama when the Democrat claimed his health care policy would not cover illegal immigrants.

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