State of the Union’s guest lists highlight Trump’s priorities, Democrats’ opposition

State of the Union’s guest lists highlight Trump’s priorities, Democrats’ opposition

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A sixth-grader from Wilmington, Delaware, named Joshua Trump has been invited to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, because the White House says he’s been bullied at school.

(MORE: Trump not expected to make ‘national emergency’ declaration in 2nd State of the Union )

The younger Trump, who is 11 years old, “appreciates science, art, and history,” according to the WhiteHouse.gov website. “He also loves animals and hopes to pursue a related career in the future. His hero and best friend is his Uncle Cody, who serves in the United States Air Force.”

“Unfortunately, Joshua has been bullied in school due to his last name. He is thankful to the First Lady and the Trump family for their support,” the White House said.

PHOTO: Joshua Trump is a 6th grade student in Wilmington, Delaware. He appreciates science, art, and history. He also loves animals and hopes to pursue a related career in the future. Keegan Barber/The White House
Joshua Trump is a 6th grade student in Wilmington, Delaware. He appreciates science, art, and history. He also loves animals and hopes to pursue a related career in the future.

(MORE: For Democrats, Stacey Abrams sends key message on gender and race in SOTU response )

He’s among 13 guests who will be sitting with the first lady in the House gallery to watch the president speak.

The White House’s guest list looks to symbolically represent Trump’s policies

As the White House mentions in its preview, its guests are drawn from all different walks of life: the formerly incarcerated, a young cancer survivor, a responder to the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting, a recovering addict, a special agent, and family members whose loved ones the White House says were killed by an undocumented immigrant are among the special guests.

While the White House says the group represents the “very best of America,” the list also symbolically represents the Trump’s administration’s priorities. Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong, and Madison Armstrong – all surviving family members of an elderly couple allegedly by an undocumented immigrant in Nevada in January, meant to support the the president’s’s push for increased security along the U.S.-Mexico border. A special agent, Elvin Hernandez, who has investigated human trafficking and transnational organized crime groups, will attend as well.

(MORE: Trump declaring national emergency to build wall could complicate matters for Republicans )

Also invited is Matthew Charles, the first prisoner released as a result of the First Step Act, a policy pioneered by the Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and aimed at reducing recidivism rates among federal prisoners. The White House, which is prioritizing the fight against opioid abuse, invited Ashley Evans, a woman celebrating about one year in recovery after said to have struggled with opioid and substance abuse most of her life.

And then there is Alice Johnson, President Trump granted clemency to her in June 2018 with the encouragement of celebrity Kim Kardashian.

Democrats paint a sharp contrast with their list of invited guests

Although officials say the president hopes to convey unity in his State of the Union address, Democrats were providing a sharp contrast with their list of invited guests.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York invited Ana Maria Archila, an activist who gained national attention when she confronted former GOP Sen. Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator, urging him to believe sexual assault survivors and vote against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

PHOTO: President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jan. 30, 2018 in Washington.Mark Wilson/Getty Images, FILE
President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, Jan. 30, 2018 in Washington.

(MORE: Protester who confronted Republican Sen. Flake praises his proposed vote delay: ‘I feel encouraged )

Sen. Kamala Harris of California appeared to be sending a message to a president she is hoping to challenge in 2020 as a Democratic nominee hopeful. As federal workers continue to recover from the recent government shutdown, her guest is among many families who were affected. Harris invited air traffic controller Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, who lost her home in the 2017 Thomas Fire and was furloughed during the shutdown. Her husband Jed, a Navy veteran and air traffic controller, worked without pay during the shutdown.

Trump’s fight for a wall at the southern border, which led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, has been blasted by Democrats who, like Harris, have labeled it the president’s “vanity project.”

Also taking a jab at the president’s immigration policies is Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who tweeted: “My #SOTU guest will be Linda Clark, an immigrant from Liberia who has lived in the U.S. for almost 2 decades. Yet Trump is threatening to deport her and thousands of Liberians for no reason other than hate.”

Listening to Trump, who has doubted warnings about the economic impact of climate change coming from his own administration, will be a climate scientist invited by Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

“Climate change is creating refugees, claiming lives and costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The Trump administration continues to push our planet down a path of destruction. Instead of tackling the problem head-on, President Trump is burying his head in the sand and handing out favors to his friends in the coal industry,” Jayapal said in a statement.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, will bring transgender Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann. Gillibrand, a Democratic presidential candidate, is preparing new legislation to protect transgender service members in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing Trump’s ban on transgender military service to go into effect, according to a statement on her website.

Some Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Rep. John Lewis, have stated they do not plan to attend the president’s second State of the Union.

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