Are you ready for the 2019 State of the Union? By the look of things in the country, it will truly be one for the books. As the president shares his agenda for his third year in office, family, friends, and others who put a face to issues he's pushing will be in the crowd. Naturally, you're probably wondering: Who is Donald Trump's 2019 State of the Union guest? TBH, he's got a few of them, including one very familiar face.
On Feb. 5, more than a dozen guests will join President Trump for his second State of the Union (SOTU), from a recovering addict to the formerly incarcerated. One name you might recognize is Alice Marie Johnson, the woman he granted clemency to in 2018 with the help of beauty mogul Kim Kardashian. Kardashian learned of Johnson, who had served more than 20 years of a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense, in 2017, after Mic produced a documentary on the 63-year-old. From there, she started advocating for Johnson's release, even traveling to the White House to ask Trump to free her. And in June 2018, he did.
In addition to Johnson, the president has invited the family of a Nevada-based couple who were killed by an undocumented immigrant in 2019, which "devastated both their community and three generations of their family," per a statement from the White House. He has also invited survivors of the October 2018 mass shooting at Pittsburg's Tree of Life Synogogue, which resulted in the deaths of 11 people and is believed to be the deadliest attack on American Jews in national history, as well as a sixth grader who has been bullied because he shares Trump's last name, per The New York Times. Here's his full guest list.
As ever, the guests symbolize issues on the president's agenda. Trump has long hunkered down on topics like immigration, repeatedly stressing the need for a border wall with Mexico to prevent criminals from entering the United States. He's also made criminal justice reform a talking point, even signing a bill in 2018 to reduce the number of people in prison. And, of course, he's always tweeting about issues related to mass shootings, from his desire to arm teachers to comments about mental health.
Because there had previously been a cloud of confusion over the 2019 State of the Union entirely, it was unclear who the president's guest was going to be — if there was going to be one at all. With the partial government shutdown approaching its second month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked the president on Jan. 16 to delay the State of the Union, citing security concerns and the trouble with security staffing during a shutdown. President Trump, however, said in a Jan. 23 letter to Pelosi that her claims were unfounded and that he would be going through with the annual event. In a follow-up letter, Pelosi said that she would not consider a resolution authorizing Trump's State of the Union in the House chamber, which pretty much sounded like the entire thing was scrapped. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on the letter and on the president's next steps at the time, but did not hear back.
As a back-up option, Trump was reportedly looking at hosting a political rally outside of Washington, but even that seemed iffy. For one, White House officials told CNN that they had concerns that a rally would be a little too casual to replicate the traditional event. Some also guessed that hosting a rally would be seen as just another campaign speech, which aren't as popular as they used to be. And others pointed out that many television networks don't usually carry his rallies, which seemed, well, pointless. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on or confirmation of Trump's reported plans to host a rally at the time, but did not hear back.
It seemed that the only thing that could get the 2019 State of the Union back on schedule was an agreement between political leaders on border security, but that looked pretty unlikely. The president had repeatedly declined Democrats' offer of $1.3 billion for wall barriers and fencing at the United States southern border, insisting on $5.7 billion for a wall to fix a growing "humanitarian and security crisis" and that "nothing else" would get him to reopen the government. However, a short term deal was reached on Jan. 25 that will keep the government open until Feb. 15, which got the event back on track, scheduled for Feb. 5. And here we are.
So get cozy, friends. You won't want to miss what Trump has to say.