POLITICS

Trump's State Of The Union Guests Include Bullied Boy, Synagogue Shooting Survivors

The 13 guests, who also include former jail inmates, are touted as representing "the very best of America."

Two mass shooting survivors, a recovering opioid addict and a bullied sixth grader are among the 13 people invited to sit with first lady Melania Trump during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

“This year’s guests come from all different walks of life and each has an incredible story to tell,” the White House’s announcement said. “No matter their background, each one has something important in common: They represent the very best of America.”

The list includes relatives of Gerald and Sharon David, an elderly Nevada couple who, according to authorities, were killed in their home by an undocumented immigrant in January.

To focus attention on his continued push for a border wall, President Donald Trump's guests at his State of the Union address
To focus attention on his continued push for a border wall, President Donald Trump's guests at his State of the Union address include relatives of an elderly Nevada couple, Gerald and Sharon David, who authorities say were killed last month by an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. The family members are (left to right) granddaughter Heather Armstrong, daughter Debra Bissell and great-granddaughter Madison Armstrong.

Trump has highlighted the couple’s death on Twitter as proof of the need for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

The Davids’ daughter, Debra Bissell, granddaughter Heather Armstrong and great-granddaughter Madison Armstrong will attend the event in their memory.

Two former prison inmates who were serving lengthy drug-related sentences, Matthew Charles and Alice Johnson, have also been invited to attend.

Matthew Charles, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for drug charges and released as a result of the recently passe
Matthew Charles, who was sentenced to 35 years in prison for drug charges and released as a result of the recently passed First Step Act, is one of Trump's State of the Union guests.

Charles was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 1996 and was the first to be released as a result of the First Step Act, a bipartisan prison reform bill signed into law by Trump in December that aims to reduce the number of incarcerated people.

Johnson, whose case was advocated by reality star Kim Kardashian, was granted clemency by Trump in June. Johnson had been serving a mandatory life sentence for a nonviolent drug case.

“During her nearly 22 years of incarceration, Alice accomplished what has been called an ‘extraordinary rehabilitation,’” the White House said of her.

Alice Johnson, whose life sentence was commuted by President Trump, is another of Trump's State of the Union guests.
Alice Johnson, whose life sentence was commuted by President Trump, is another of Trump's State of the Union guests.

Ashley Evans, an Ohio mother and recovering opioid addict, will also attend as a guest. Evans is commended by the White House for having just celebrated one year of sobriety and for sharing her story of hope with others.

The White House has also invited Tom Wibberley, the father of Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley who was one of 17 Americans killed in a 2000 terrorist attack while aboard the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen.

Tom Wibberley, the father of a Navy Seaman killed overseas in 2000, and Ashley Evans, who is a recovering opioid addict, will
Tom Wibberley, the father of a Navy Seaman killed overseas in 2000, and Ashley Evans, who is a recovering opioid addict, will be at Trump's speech, via a White House invitation.

Joshua Trump, a sixth grader from Wilmington, Delaware, who the White House said has been bullied over the last name he shares with the president ― and who The New York Times reported is not related to him ― will also attend as a guest. The first lady’s “Be Best” campaign has advocated against bullying.

Ten-year-old cancer survivor Grace Eline, who the NJ Advance Media reported is from Gillette, New Jersey, will also attend as a guest of the Trumps. Grace was diagnosed with germinoma, a germ-cell brain tumor, at the age of 9.

Other speech guests include Joshua Trump, a Delaware boy the White House said has been bullied over his last name, and Grace
Other speech guests include Joshua Trump, a Delaware boy the White House said has been bullied over his last name, and Grace Eline, a New Jersey girl who recently finished chemotherapy for cancer.

“Grace recently finished chemotherapy and today shows no evidence of the disease. She is determined to help other children who are fighting cancer,” the White House said.

Pittsburgh Police SWAT Officer Timothy Matson, who was wounded while responding to the October mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, will also attend with synagogue member Judah Samet, who survived the shooting that killed 11 people. Samet also survived the Holocaust. Tuesday marks his 81st birthday, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Also among the White House guests are Pittsburgh Police SWAT Officer Timothy Matson, who was wounded in the October&nbsp
Also among the White House guests are Pittsburgh Police SWAT Officer Timothy Matson, who was wounded in the October mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, and Judah Samet, a survivor of the attack.

“Of course, I am very honored,” Samet, who described himself as a Trump supporter, told the paper. “(Trump) invited me, I was told, because I represented two of the biggest tragedies for the Jewish people in the last 100 years.”

Rounding out the guest list are Elvin Hernandez, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security who investigates narcotics, gangs and human trafficking, and Roy James, a plant manager at a Mississippi lumber facility that was reopened after the Trump-backed tax cut bill became law in late 2017.

Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Elvin Hernandez and lumber plant manager Roy James complete Trump's guest list
Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Elvin Hernandez and lumber plant manager Roy James complete Trump's guest list for his speech.
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