Feb 5, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Guest list: Lawmakers' plus-ones at Trump's State of the Union

	The State of the Union address. Photo: Donaldson Collection

Last year's State of the Union address. Photo: Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

Members of Congress and the White House often choose their State of the Union guests to provide a human face to hot-button political issues — and this year is no different.

The big picture: In the wake of the 35-day government shutdown over President Trump's demand for a border wall, many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have chosen immigration as their focus, inviting members of families who were separated at the border or border patrol officials. But individuals impacted by gun control, the opioid crisis, and criminal justice reform are expected to be in the House chamber on Tuesday night as well.

2020 Democrats

  • Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.): Edward Douglas, who received a life sentence in 2003 for a non-violent drug offense and was released last month under the First Step Act.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.): Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, a transgender service member and the president of a transgender military advocacy organization.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.): Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, who lost her home in the 2017 Thomas fire and is an air traffic control specialist who was furloughed during the shutdown.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.): Nicole Smith-Holt, mother of Alec Smith who died from diabetic ketoacidosis because he couldn't afford his insulin prescription.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.): Sajid Shahriar, a Massachusetts labor leader, a Department of Housing and Urban Development employee who was furloughed during the shutdown.
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii): Syrian Kurdish leader Ilham Ahmed, co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council and an advocate for peace in Syria.

Other Democrats

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi is bringing a long list of guests, including two active duty transgender servicemembers, celebrity chef José Andrés, and Fred Guttenberg, father of Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting victim Jaime Guttenberg. Read the the full list, via Politico.
  • Rep. Salud Carbajal (Calif.): Erik Talkin, the CEO of Foodbank of Santa Barbara.
  • Rep. Jimmy Gomez (Calif.): Sandra Diaz, an immigrant from Costa Rica who worked as an undocumented housekeeper for Trump.
  • Rep. Katie Porter (Calif.): Helen Nguyen, wife of Michael Phuong Minh Nguyen, who has been detained in Vietnam for nearly seven months.
  • Rep. Jackie Speier (Calif.): Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland, who identifies as transgender and who served in Afghanistan.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.): Cameron Kasky, a Parkland shooting survivor and gun reform activist.
  • Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.): Regina Moller, the executive director of Noank Community Support Services, a non-profit suspended during the government shutdown.
  • Rep. Jim Himes (Conn.): Lane Murdock, a high school student who helped organize the National School Walkout last year following the Parkland shooting.
  • Rep. Val Demings (Fla.): Ralph Velez, a federal employee at Orlando International Airport who worked without pay during the government shutdown.
  • Rep. Ted Deutch (Fla.): Manny Oliver, the father of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver.
  • Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (Fla.): Michelle Garcia, a women's health advocate and Essure survivor.
  • Rep. Lucy McBath (Ga.): Jeff Binkley, father of Maura Binkley, a victim in the Tallahassee yoga studio shooting last year.
  • Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.): Tom Mueller, an Illinois soybean farmer whose business has been negatively impacted by the trade war with China.
  • Rep. Sharice Davids (Kan.): Laura Robeson, a health care advocate and mother of a child with pre-existing conditions.
  • Rep. Chellie Pingree (Maine): Joel Clement, a former Department of Interior official and climate policy expert.
  • Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.): Varshini Prakash, co-founder of Sunrise, a youth climate change activism organization that has promoted the Green New Deal.
  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (Md.): Lila Johnson, a federal contract worker at the Department of Agriculture.
  • Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.): Linda Clark, a Minnesota resident and Liberian immigrant facing possible deportation.
  • Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.): Briana Lamb, an advocate for missing and murdered indigenous women.
  • Rep. Chris Pappas (N.H.): Tavion Dignard, a transgender Navy veteran.
  • Rep. Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.): Yeni Gonzalez Garcia, a Guatemalan immigrant who was separated from her three children at the Arizona border last year.
  • Rep. Grace Meng (N.Y.): Jin Park, the first undocumented immigrant in the U.S. to receive a Rhodes Scholarship.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.): Ana Maria Archila, the co-executive director at the Center for Popular Democracy and one of two activists who confronted former Sen. Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator last year over his support of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
  • Rep. Paul Tonko (N.Y.): Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters president.
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.): Victorina Morales, a former Trump National Golf Club employee and undocumented immigrant rights activist.
  • Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio): Dave Green, the president of UAW Local 1112, which represents General Motors workers at the Lordstown, Ohio plant, one of five North American plants that will close this year.
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.): Albertina Contreras Teletor and Yakelin Garcia Contreras, mother and daughter separated at the southern border last spring.
  • Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.): Alexandria Goddard, a student gun violence prevention advocate.
  • Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (Tex.): Rhonda Hart, the mother of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Kimberly Vaughn.

The Trump family

  • Matthew Charles, the first prisoner released following the First Step Act.
  • The daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Gerald and Sharon David, who were murdered in their home in Nevada earlier this year, allegedly by an undocumented immigrant
  • Ashley Evans, a woman recovering from an opioid addiction.
  • Alice Johnson, a woman who was serving a life sentence for non-violent drug and money laundering charges until Trump granted her clemency last year.
  • Timothy Matson, a member of the Pittsburgh Police Department who suffered multiple gunshot wounds when a shooter opened fire at the Tree of Life Synagogue.
  • Joshua Trump, an 11-year-old from Delaware whose parents said he was bullied in school because of his last name.

Other Republicans

  • Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.): Andrew Pollack, the father of Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack.
  • Rep. Doug Collins (Ga.): Art Gallegos Jr., a Gainesville resident and co-founder of Latinos Conservative Organization.
  • Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.): Jodi Moore, the wife of deceased Broadwater County Deputy Mason Moore.
  • Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.): Nadia Murad, Nobel Peace Prize winner, a Yazidi human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS in Iraq.
  • Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio): Tito Brown, the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio and a federal BUILD grant recipient.
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (Ohio): Chris Green, an East Liverpool K-9 officer who accidentally overdosed on fentanyl after the powder ended up on his shirt from a drug arrest.
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (Pa.): John F. Malloy, president and CEO of Victaulic and a recipient of the Boy Scouts Distinguished Citizens Award.
  • Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.): A.B. Culvahouse Jr., the U.S. Ambassador to Australia.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (Texas): Manny Padilla, the Custom and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley sector chief and current director of CBP's Joint Task Force-West.
  • Rep. Chip Roy (Texas): Brandon Judd, the National Border Patrol Council president.
  • Rep. Rob Bishop (Utah): Jennie Taylor, the widow of former mayor of North Ogden Maj. Brent Taylor.
  • Rep. Steve King (Iowa): Lynnette Hardaway, one of two conservative social media personalities known as Diamond and Silk.

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats send a message to Trump with State of the Union guests

Go deeper