WASHINGTON (SBG) – Each year, guests are invited to the State of the Union to put a face on issues the president and first lady wish to highlight. Democrats are expected to make their own statements in their guest picks, especially after the bitter border wall battle led to the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and disputes over when the State of the Union would be held.
So the question is, who will be in the audience when President Donald Trump gives his delayed second address on Tuesday? Thirteen guests of the Trump family have been confirmed by the White House including Alice Marie Johnson, 63, whose life sentence was commuted after Kim Kardashian West lobbied for her release at the Oval Office. A boy named Joshua, who has allegedly been bullied by classmates because he happens to share the last name of the president, will also be attending.
Melania Trump’s ‘Be Best’ campaign focuses on preventing a number of issues affecting children's well-being including bullying and opioid abuse, while President Donald Trump signed into law last year the First Step Act, which is intended to reform the nation's criminal justice system.
Last year, Ms. Trump broke with tradition by arriving separately from her husband. Instead, she accompanied her guests to the State of the Union. The first lady sat with guests including an officer who adopted a baby from a meth addicted woman, a young boy who led a campaign to honor veterans and families whose children were murdered by MS-13 gang members.
The 2019 State of the Union is expected to similarly bring attention to the domestic opioid crisis and illegal immigration, especially as the fight over funding the border wall continues.
Other guests of the Trumps this year are:
Debra Bissell, the daughter of Gerald and Sharon David of Reno, Nevada, a married couple who were allegedly killed in their home by an illegal immigrant last month. She will be joined by the Davids’ granddaughter Heather Armstrong and great-granddaughter Madison.
Matthew Charles, who the White House says is the first person released from prison as a result of the First Step Act legislation President Trump signed into law late last year.
Grace Eline, 9, who survived a brain tumor.
Ashley Evans, a recovering opioid addict who expects to be reunited with her daughter the day after Valentine’s Day.
Elvin Hernandez, a Special Agent with the Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations division.
Roy James, plant manager of a lumber facility that the White House claims was kept open by Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Timothy Matson, Pittsburgh police officer who suffered multiple gunshot wounds as a responder to the anti-semitic Tree of Life Synagogue massacre this past October. Eleven people were killed, but he is credited with helping to save countless lives.
Judah Samet, a Holocaust and Tree of Life Synagogue massacre survivor.
Tom Wibberley, father of Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, who was killed along with 16 of his fellow crew members by a 2000 terrorist attack on the U.S.S. Cole.
Members of Congress are also permitted to bring their own guests, generally reflecting their party's policy positions. Republicans' invitations compliment the Trumps’ initiatives, with Border Patrol agents and those who have lost loved ones to opioid abuse and ISIS represented.
The Democrats guest lists appear to symbolize their standing in stark contrast with the president, extending invitations to transgender military in protest of Trump’s trans troop ban, federal workers affected by the shutdown and undocumented immigrant activists.
Last year, several Democrat lawmakers boycotted the State of the Union and many of those who did attend sent strong messages to the president through actions including wearing black to express solidarity with sexual harassment survivors and kente in protest of some of Trump’s disputed derogatory comments about African nations and Haiti.
Here’s a sampling of guests invited by members of Congress:
Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. - Air traffic control specialist Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, who lost her home in the 2017 Thomas Fire and was furlough during the government shutdown that delayed this year’s State of the Union.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas - Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Manny Padilla, who is working with the Trump Administration to increase border security.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- N.Y., who is campaigning for president - Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, president of a transgender military advocacy organization who identifies as transgender.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York - Ana Maria Archila, a progressive activist who gained attention for confronting former Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., over his support for then-Supreme Court nominee and current Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. – Illegal immigrants rights activist Victorina Morales, who is a former Trump National Golf Club employee.
The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report.