The State of the Union address is upon us, and it is the annual tradition of trying to make a point by inviting special guests.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have established a list of guests that presents the President's agenda and praises his political successes. Democrats, on the other hand, are hosting participants protesting against Trump. All lawmakers use the chosen guests to make a statement – whether it's honoring a pet policy or emphasizing the work of an activist with whom they agree.
Trump has the microphone for his guests to get the essentials of the scene. But here's a guide for some of the most notable attendees at Trump's State of the Union address in 2019.
Trump's guests: "the best of America"
The list of guests of Trump and his family follows the formula of the former presidents; he invites Americans who embody national ideals. This includes veterans, civil servants and ordinary citizens who have committed acts of heroism, as well as those who benefit or are likely to benefit from the president's policies.
Trump delivers the state of the Union shortly after a deadly battle around his border wall. This includes the familiar themes of illegal immigration and security – and he invited some guests to illustrate his point. It also pays tribute to a sawmill plant manager, an opioid addiction survivor and a bully child because his last name is Trump. Here are the people that the president invited to his speech, in no particular order:
Buzz Aldrin: the astronaut who was part of the Apollo 11 crew during the moon landing in 1969. He was not on the initial guest list of White House, but President Trump paid tribute to Aldrin in his speech when he highlighted the 50th anniversary of the Moon. mission this year – and promised that "this year, US astronauts will return to space on US rockets". Aldrin, in a very festive tie, was ovationné.
"In 2019, we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the courageous young pilots who have traveled the 250-kilometer space in space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon." Half a century later, one of the Apollo 11 astronauts, planted this flag, Buzz Aldrin. " pic.twitter.com/btpBODZMJe
– CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) February 6, 2019
Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong and Madison Armstrong: the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of a couple from Reno, Nevada, who were murdered at their home in January 2019. A 19-year-old undocumented immigrant reportedly worked for the couple as a landscape designer was charged with murder; he was also charged with other homicides in the area. Trump had tweeted about this case, claiming that this is one of the reasons he needs his "mighty" wall.
Elvin Hernandez: a special agent of the Department of Homeland Security with the unit of human trafficking. The White House said Hernandez had "successfully conducted numerous international investigations into trafficking in human beings involving transnational organized crime groups" over his seven-year mission. Trump has tried to advocate for the construction of his border wall to reduce human trafficking, although his claims are not always grounded in reality.
Matthew Charles: A Tennessee man who was one of the first to be released from prison thanks to the First Step Act, the criminal justice reform bill enacted at the end of last year, which Trump has described as true success.
Charles has a pretty crazy story: he was sentenced to 35 years in prison for selling crack in 1996, but his sentence was cut short in 2016 because of Obama's policy changes that reduced disparities of punishment for crack. Charles was released from prison – but prosecutors fought him and he was forced to return to prison to serve his sentence until the end of his sentence. He was finally released in January 2019 through the First Step Act.
Alice Johnson: a great-grandmother who was serving a life sentence for drug trafficking. She received a highly publicized switch from President Trump in June 2018 after Kim Kardashian West's visit to the White House and personally pleaded for him.
Roy James: a factory manager at a sawmill in Vicksburg, Mississippi. James was about to lose his job at the sawmill after more than two decades when the factory had planned to close down. But the investors came in and bought it through a special provision of the 2017 tax reduction and job creation law, the GOP (somewhat unpopular) tax cut. James was then hired to supervise the factory.
The State of the Union speech will be delivered Tuesday night at 8:00 pm. by @realDonaldTrump. Roy James, Vicksburg Forest Products sawmill manager, will be special guest of President Trump & @FLOTUS. A great honor for Mr. James and Mississippi. pic.twitter.com/GFjqm79hpP
– Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) February 5, 2019
Timothy Matson: a member of the SWAT team and first responder who was shot and wounded at least six times during the shooting of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in October 2018. Matson exchanged shots with the shooter , motivated by anti-Semitism and left 11 people. dead.
Judah Samet: a survivor of the Holocaust who also survived the shooting of the synagogue of the Tree of Life. Samet, who is 81, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the president "invited me," I was told, because I represented two of the greatest tragedies lived by the Jewish people over the last hundred years ".
Tom Wibberley: the father of sailor Craig Wibberley, one of the 17 people killed during the Al Qaeda attack against the USS Cole in 2000. In January, Trump said that the agent of D & C Al-Qaeda linked to the attack, Jamal al-Badawi, had been killed in an attack. air strike in Yemen.
Ashley Evans: a survivor of opioid addiction in Ohio, one of the states hardest hit by the epidemic of opioids. According to the White House, Evans was cared for by Brigid's Path, a health care facility in Kettering, Ohio, where she gave birth to her daughter and began to recover. February marks a little over a year of recovery and she will return to her daughter on February 15th.
Grace Eline: a 10-year-old cancer survivor from Jersey, "determined to help other children who fight cancer," according to the White House.
Joshua Trump: a sixth grade student from Wilmington, Delaware, who was reportedly intimidated at school because of his family name, so much so that he had to at home for a year. This sounds like a case for Melania Trump's anti-bullying initiative "Be Best".
Democrats' Guests: Closing Stories, #MeToo Survivors, Transgender Troops and More
Trump delivers his speech on the state of the Union at the invitation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who sits behind him while he speaks. She also invited a crowd of people who seem to be directly replicating Trump and his politics – and many other Democrats follow suit. While Pelosi receives a long list of guests, most other lawmakers are getting a plus-one. Here is a sample of people invited by Pelosi and other Democrats:
Transgender troops: Pelosi invited Captain Jennifer Peace and Major Ian Brown of the US Army, two members of the transgender service on active duty. Their presence looks like a direct blow against the ban on Trump's transgender troops. Peace and Brown represent OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and SPART * A, which defend the rights of LGBTQ members, according to the Pelosi office.
At least four other Democratic legislators have also invited transgender people who have served in the military, including New York senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand. (Read a complete explanator for more.)
The defenders of gun control: Guest pelosi Charlie Mirsky, co-founder of March for Our Lives, a firearms and firearms advocacy group; Mattie Scott, who runs the San Francisco Brady Campaign; and Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg, a student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, killed in a shootout in Parkland, Florida, in 2018.
Next week marks the first anniversary of the Parkland shootout, which killed 17 people. The debate over firearms in the United States has sparked renewed interest, and others related to high school have witnessed the state of the Union.
Representative Ted Deutch (D-FL), whose district includes Stoneman Douglas, invited Manny Oliver, father of another student, Joaquin, who was killed during the shooting. Cameron Kasky, a Parkland student and prominent advocate, was present as a guest of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).
Immigrants and defenders of immigration: Pelosi invited Angelica Salas, a former undocumented immigrant who heads the California-based immigrant rights group, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. Salas' invitation is a direct repression of Trump's radical immigration policy.
Pelosi is not the only one trying to argue this point. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) brought Albertina Contreras Teletor and Yakelin Garcia Contreras, a separated mother and daughter to the southern border last year. Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) invited a Guatemalan migrant, Yeni González, who was separated from her three children at the border.
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN), representing for the first time and former Somali refugee, has invited Linda Clark, a Liberian refugee, who faces deportation because of the plan put in place by the administration. Trump to end the protected status of Liberians. since the 1991 civil war in the country.
Representative Joaquín Castro (D-TX) took a DREAMer, while representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) brought Victorina Morales, an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant working on the Trump Golf Course in New Jersey.
Prior to her speech, Morales told Vox that she was proud to participate and that she wanted to talk to members of Congress about "what it is like to be here without papers and to the reason we need an immigration reform ". (Read an interview with Morales here.)
Famous chefs: Pelosi invited José Andrés, an ardent advocate for immigrant rights who volunteered in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and set up a kitchen for fired federal employees during the closure. Chief Tyler Florence, who participated in the #ChefForFeds initiative, also participated in Pelosi's invitation.
Union leaders: Pelosi has invited a group of union leaders, who could be expected to thwart Trump's message on employment and the economy in the state of the Union. They include Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, and Doug McCarron, president of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Carpenters of America.
Pelosi also asked Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood, that the battle for the right to abortion continues. This is part of a larger theme: many Democratic legislators wear white in the honor of suffragists and draw attention to issues such as equal pay. Some lawmakers also wore white in 2017 but black in 2018 in solidarity with #MeToo.
Legislators continue to honor the #MeToo movement and survivors of sexual assault this year. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) invited Amanda Thomashow, a lawyer and survivor who filed the first title complaint IX against the disgraced former American gymnastics doctor, Larry Nassar, in 2014. The representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D -NY) offered a seat to Ana María Archila, a lawyer who then confronted-Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) in an elevator at confirmation hearings of Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh. (Learn more about this here.)
Democratic lawmakers also tried to make a point about the government shutdown last month. Meaning. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), both presidential candidates in 2020, invited workers affected by the closure. Warren invited a licensed employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Harris brought Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, Air Traffic Controller, who also rebuilt his home after the sinister Thomas Fire in California in 2017. (Read an interview with Pesiri -Dybvik here.)
Other people invited by Democratic lawmakers include a farmer dissatisfied with Trump's trade war, a climatologist, and a mother whose son died of complications from diabetes because he could not afford insulin.
Republican lawmakers also bring in guests
We can not forget the Republican lawmakers in all of this. Although very few are likely to protest against Trump or his policy, they try to promote their states or districts or support the president's agenda.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) invited an exile who fled Venezuela due to political unrest in this Latin American country. The other Florida senator, Rick Scott, who was governor at the time of the Parkland shooting, brought Andrew Pollack, father of Parkland's victim, Meadow Pollack, who advocated for stricter security measures in schools. .
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has asked the director of an opioid treatment center in Kentucky. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) invited the director of a working group of Border Patrol. (The other Texas senator, Ted Cruz, took his father.)
And perhaps most strangely enough, Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who was recently removed from the committee for racist remarks, decided to invite Diamond and Silk, the viral sisters supporting Trump from North Carolina. . He could only have one guest, so he apparently launched a coin. The diamond has won.
Having only one ticket, I invited one of the two guests to the state of the Union tonight, #sotu Lynnette Hardaway & Rochelle Richardson, otherwise known as Diamond & Silk. Diamond won the draw. Both will be my guest speakers at COS in the morning. pic.twitter.com/bCutypAOoJ
– Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 5, 2019