The annual State of the Union is always a popular affair. Yet just a few weeks ago it didn't look like we were going to have one at all. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rescinded her invitation because we were in the middle of a government shutdown. But, all is well. For the moment. The government is (temporarily) open again and President Trump will be delivering his second State of the Union address Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET.
As much as we are anticipating the president's remarks, we are also looking forward to spotting who's in the audience. I've picked out just a few examples to show the contrast between the two parties' priorities.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be joined by Ana Maria Archila, one of the women who chased former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) into an elevator and convinced him to delay the vote on Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh until the FBI could investigate Christine Blasey Ford's accusations against him. The freshman lawmaker called her a "shero."
This @AnaMariaArchil2, the NY-14 shero that will be accompanying me to the State of the Union tomorrow.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 4, 2019
She wasn’t planning on leaping into that elevator ahead of the Kavanaugh vote, but after hearing the stories of survivors across the country, she went in.
A defining moment. https://t.co/J4J8xCii4n
Kavanaugh vehemently denied the allegations against him. Following the investigation, Flake did end up voting for Kavanaugh and the nominee was eventually confirmed.
Interestingly, the woman currently accusing Democratic Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexual assault has hired Blasey Ford's legal team. He too dismissed the charges as a smear campaign. Ocasio-Cortez has yet to speak out about that case, however.
Let this be a reminder that the stories of survivors across the country will not be silenced, diminished, or forgotten. pic.twitter.com/9PhrgeYuHv— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 4, 2019
Other Democrats, like Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ) have invited illegal immigrants to the State of the Union. Coleman is bringing Victorina Morales, a Guatemalan woman who was reportedly fired from the Trump National Golf Club.
President Trump has a different idea, one that will be a powerful call for more border security. In 2018 he took a few moments to recognize parents in the audience whose children had been killed by illegal immigrants. He will be offering similar seats this year to Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong, and Madison Armstrong. Two of their family members were murdered last month by an illegal immigrant.
Other Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), has asked Knoxville firefighter Knoxville fire captain D.J. Corcoran, whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant, to be by her side.
"The tragedy the Corcoran family has endured is one no family should ever have to experience," Blackburn said. "The attendance of Pierce’s parents at the State of the Union serves as a reminder that we as a Congress have a duty to keep the American people safe. It is an honor to attend with Captain Corcoran."
Corcoran's wife will also be in attendance as the guest of Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN). Burchett's wife gave up her seat for her.