ADVERTISEMENT
About Our People Legal Stuff
AP_93247160430.jpg

Here's who lawmakers and Trump are bringing to his big speech to highlight key issues

0

UPDATE Feb. 28, 1:26 p.m.:

More guests to President Trump's speech have been announced.

José Andrés,  the celebrity chef in the midst of a legal battle after backing out of plans to open a restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., will be the guest of Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), CNN reported.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) invited Iraqi refugee Tiba Faraj, according to a statement from her office.

UPDATE Feb. 28, 10:04 a.m.

President Trump announced the guests he would bring to his speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night. These guests often foreshadow key topics of the speech.

Trump will bring Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, widows of two law enforcement officers killed by a twice-deported suspect in 2014. Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2008, will also appear. He spoke at the Republican National Convention last summer. 

Other guests include:

  • Maureen McCarthy Scalia, widow of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
  • Megan Crowley, a 20-year-old college student battling the rare genetic disorder Pompe disease and the daughter of the founder of Novazyme Pharmaceuticals
  • Denisha Merriweather, who enrolled in a Florida private school and became the first member of her family to graduate high school and college
Here's who lawmakers and Trump are bringing to his big speech to highlight key issues

ORIGINAL STORY:

WATCH | It's not technically a State of the Union, but President Trump is going to give a speech to a joint session on Congress on Tuesday, and lawmakers planning to bring a slew of guests that represent their pet causes. 

It all started with Reagan

President Ronald Reagan was the first to invite a special guest to a State of the Union. He invited Lenny Skutnik to his address in 1982. Skutnik had become a local hero when he rescued several people from the Potomac River after a plane crashed into the 14th Street Bridges between Washington, D.C., and Virginia. 

Reagan gave a nod to Skutnik in his speech, and speechwriters now use the term "Skutnik" to refer to a special guest the president acknowledges during the speech. 

Bring out the political mascots 

Now lawmakers often bring guests of their own. They might only get a few seconds of on-camera time during audience pans, but it's just enough to turn the media spotlight on key issues they want to highlight. 

These special guests personify a politician's talking points. 

Who's on the guest list this year? 

A group of Democrats has been circulating a letter on Capitol Hill urging their colleagues to invite guests who represent groups that would be harmed by Trump's policies. 

"We want to send a strong message to the President-elect that he cannot push these communities aside, and he cannot change the fabric of this country," the letter says. 


The letter, signed by Reps. Jim Langevin (D-RI), Judy Chu (D-CA), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), David Cicilline (D-RI), Cedric Richmond (D-LA) and Jared Polis (D-CO), encourages lawmakers to bring people who, "despite discrimination or marginalization," have a positive impact on their communities. 

Democrats plan to invite guests who highlight several key issues, like immigration, protecting people with disabilities and Obamacare.


Langevin will bring Dr. Ehsun Mirza with him to Trump's speech. Mirza is a Pakistani doctor and Muslim community leader.

Likewise, freshman Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) will bring Muslim activist and interfaith leader Aneelah Afzali with her to the speech.

Cicilline has invited Jeannine L. Chartier to the address. Chartier is the executive and artistic director of Vision Strength Access, a group that advocates for people with disabilities. 

Polis will be joined at the speech by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiary Oscar Juarez-Luna. Luna's family moved from Mexico to the U.S. when he was a toddler. Luna hoped to join the U.S. military but was unable to enlist because of his undocumented status. 

Several lawmakers, including Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) are bringing guests who have pre-existing medical conditions and have obtained health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act. 

FILE - In this March 18, 2016 file photo, Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity speaks during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Phoenix. Hannity accused Fox News colleague Megyn Kelly of backing Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. The spat began Wednesday night on Kelly’s program, when the anchor criticized both GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate, Clinton, of avoiding tough media interviews. Kelly said Trump “will go on Hannity and pretty much only Hannity.” Hannity responded on Twitter that Kelly “clearly” supports Clinton. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
FILE - In this March 18, 2016 file photo, Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity speaks during a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in Phoenix. Hannity accused Fox News colleague Megyn Kelly of backing Hillary Clinton on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. The spat began Wednesday night on Kelly’s program, when the anchor criticized both GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and the Democratic candidate, Clinton, of avoiding tough media interviews. Kelly said Trump “will go on Hannity and pretty much only Hannity.” Hannity responded on Twitter that Kelly “clearly” supports Clinton. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

It's not just Democrats

Some Republican lawmakers are bringing special guests of their own. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) invited Fox News host Sean Hannity.

Two other Republicans invited family members of a cop who was killed in the line of duty.

The Senate confirmed billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary

WATCH  | For more news you need, check out our 60 Second Circa.

Comments
Read Comments
Comments
ADVERTISEMENT
Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest Linked In List Menu Enlarge Gallery Info Menu Close Angle Down Angle Up Angle Left Angle Right Grid Grid Play Align Left Search Youtube Mail Mail Angle Down Bookmark