Jan 30, 2018

The White House's special guests for the State of the Union

President Trump's joint address to Congress last year. Photo: Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

President Trump's special guests for tonight's State of the Union address make up an all-American cast: an African-American welder from Ohio who bought his first home last year; the first blind, double amputee to re-enlist in the Marine Corps; and a policeman who adopted a baby from opioid addicts.

More details on the 9pm ET SOTU address:

  • These "moments," when Trump singles out some of these special guests in the First Lady's box, are designed to be the most memorable parts of the speech, which aides say is designed to evoke pride in America.
  • Aides point out that there are very few times now when the country focuses on one thing, and they tried to make the most of the opening.
  • See the guest list, with photos.

But the lead story of the Boston Globe provides a reality check:

  • "The plush seats of the House chamber and the visitor’s gallery above will [include] lawmakers he has name-called on Twitter, Democrats who have called for his impeachment, members of congressional committees investigating his campaign’s contacts with Russia, and women legislators wearing black to support the ongoing #MeToo movement."

Go deeper

WHO health official leads criticism of Trump's coronavirus response

President Trump with members of the new coronavirus task force, including Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Wednesday. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, special advisor to the director general of the World Health Organization, told MSNBC Wednesday he found "most" of what President Trump said at his briefing on the novel coronavirus "incoherent."

The big picture: The top health professional, who was a health policy adviser in the Obama administration, is among several leading figures — in particular, Democrats — to criticize the president for his response to the outbreak in recent days.

Coronavirus updates: U.S. probes possible community spread as more countries report cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The CDC said Wednesday U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor knowingly have contact with anyone infected, as six more countries reported their first cases.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. South Korea has the most cases outside China, with 1,595 infections confirmed by Wednesday night. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 453 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response


President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy