Each year, senators, representatives, and the first family are allotted guest invitations to the State of the Union address at the Capitol.
Sometimes the chosen guests represent a clear political message. Sometimes the message is personal. Sometimes — like when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a guest of Laura Bush in 2004— they have a celebrity connection.
Guests at Tuesday’s State of the Union come from across the board. Here are some of the notable ones.
The Massachusetts senator and likely presidential candidate announced this week that she has invited a federal employee who was out of work during the government shutdown to attend the speech.
Sajid Shahriar works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is based in Massachusetts. Shahriar was furloughed for the entire length of the 35-day shutdown, according to a news release.
The Massachusetts representative will bring a young Boston Public Schools graduate, who attends UMass Boston, to the House chamber Tuesday night. According to Pressley, who announced her decision on MSNBC on Monday night, the woman is a so-called Dreamer whose father is an asylum seeker and mother is a Temporary Protected Status holder, Pressley said.
The congresswoman from Massachusetts’ Seventh District accompanied her announcement with a call for comprehensive immigration reform.
President Donald Trump and Melania Trump
The First Family has invited a slew of guests to the president’s address.
Among their attendees are Timothy Matson, a SWAT police officer from Pittsburgh who responded to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in October.
According to a press release from the White House and from media reports, Matson “suffered multiple gunshot wounds and saved countless lives” during the attack.
He will be joined by Tree of Life congregant Judah Samet, a Holocaust survivor who, according to the news reports, escaped the Oct. 27 attack because he was minutes late to the service that morning.
Also on the roster of White House guests at the speech is Alice Johnson, the woman granted clemency by President Trump in June 2018, reportedly after lobbying on her behalf by reality television star Kim Kardashian West.
Johnson had been serving a mandatory life sentence without parole for charges connected to a nonviolent drug offense.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
Among House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s State of the Union guests are the Planned Parenthood president, active-duty transgender service members and chef Jose Andres. Andres heads a charity that began in 2010 to feed earthquake survivors in Haiti and that offered free food and coffee to furloughed workers during the partial government shutdown.
Lawmakers often make a political statement with their invitees.
Among other guests are Fred Guttenberg, the father of a Parkland, Florida, student killed by gun violence, Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez and several national labor union leaders.
Pelosi’s husband, Paul, and one of her five children, the filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, will also join.
The New York representative has invited activist Ana Maria Archila to attend the speech. In September, Archila was one of two women who confronted former Arizona senator Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator after he announced plans to vote for Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination.
Archila is a New York native who hails from Ocasio-Cortez’s district.
Lawrence Police Officer Ivan Soto was on duty when the fires and gas explosions rocked the region and continued to do his job despite his own home being destroyed in the chaos. He is a constituent of Trahan, who serves the state’s Third District.
The North Carolina senator will bring to the Capitol an American pastor who was imprisoned for two years in Turkey on espionage charges.
Andrew Brunson, a North Carolina native, was freed in October and will be joined at Tuesday’s speech by wife Norine Brunson.
The New York senator has invited a transgender Navy lieutenant commander to the speech. Blake Dremann has been deployed 11 times and won the Navy’s highest logistics award, according to a release from Gillibrand’s office.
The Florida representative will bring American Ambassador Carlos Trujillo, who represents the United States to the Organization of American States.
Gaetz said in a tweet that Trujillo, a former Republican representative from Florida, has been “a key advisor” to President Trump during the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela.
Iowa Republican Steve King says his State of the Union guest will be Lynette Hardaway, otherwise known as the video blogger Diamond.
King tweeted on Tuesday that since he only has one guest seat, he flipped a coin between inviting Hardaway and her video partner, Rochelle Richardson, also known as Silk. Hardaway won the coin toss.
The Iowa congressman has come under fire recently for questioning in a New York Times article how white supremacy became an offensive term. House Republicans stripped King of his committee seats and some called on him to resign. King denies he is a racist.
Both women, known as Diamond & Silk, are African-American and prominent Trump supporters.