Invitees include parents of MS-13 victims, vets, an ICE agent, first responders, and beneficiaries of the GOP tax overhaul.
President Donald Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, and in keeping with tradition, he and first lady Melania Trump have invited a few guests.
The guests this year include parents of victims of the MS-13 gang, veterans, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, first responders to hurricanes and wildfires, and beneficiaries of the GOP tax overhaul.
The State of the Union address originates from a clause in the Constitution, though the practice has morphed over time as presidents tweaked its style and format. The custom of inviting guests to the address is a fairly recent development, which began with Ronald Reagan in 1982.
Presidents have continued that tradition since, usually inviting Americans considered exemplars of national ideals: veterans, public servants, and ordinary citizens who engage in acts of heroism. Guests are also invited who benefit, or stand to benefit, from the president’s policies, or represent themes or proposals highlighted in the State of the Union address.
The Trumps’ guest list follows the formula of past presidents. The invitees are stand-ins for victory laps Trump intends to take on tax cuts and the economy and symbols of the agenda he’s pushing, such as a crackdown on undocumented immigrants — all topics likely to be covered in his State of the Union address.
Or as White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders put it Monday, the attendees “represent the unbreakable American spirit and will inspire our nation to continue growing stronger, prouder and more prosperous.”