The family of a couple who were killed by an undocumented immigrant; a police officer and synagogue member who survived a mass shooting in Pittsburgh; a woman who was granted clemency by President Trump; and a sixth-grader who has been bullied because he shares the commander-in-chief’s last name.
These are seven of the 13 guests who the White House announced Monday would join Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, on Tuesday for the State of the Union address.
“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.”
One of the guests, Judah Samet, survived both the Holocaust and the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last October. Another, Timothy Matson, responded to the attack and was shot multiple times, the White House’s announcement said.
Other guests include: Tom Wibberley, the father of a Navy seaman who was killed years ago in a terrorist attack; Matthew Charles, who was recently released from prison after turning his life around; Ashley Evans, a young woman celebrating more than a year of sobriety; and Grace Eline, a girl who beat cancer.
In many cases, the guests are human faces of the narratives Mr. Trump has been crafting and wishes to advance.
Three of them, Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong and Madison Armstrong, are relatives of Gerald and Sharon David, who were killed inside their Nevada home last month by a Guatemalan man the authorities said they believed was “unlawfully present in the United States.” Mr. Trump called attention to the case on Twitter, brandishing it as evidence of the need for “a powerful Wall,” which continues to be negotiated by members of Congress.
In a similar tough-on-crime vein, Mr. Trump also invited Elvin Hernandez, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security who investigates narcotics, gangs and human trafficking. And in an attempt to share an upbeat story about jobs and the economy, Mr. Trump invited Roy James, a man who was hired to oversee a reopened sawmill in Vicksburg, Miss., that he had worked at for decades.
Mr. Trump granted clemency to another of his invited guests, Alice Johnson, in June 2018 after her case was brought to his attention by the reality television star Kim Kardashian West. Ms. Johnson had been serving life in prison for a nonviolent drug conviction before her release.
And there is one young guest who was selected for an unusual reason: he shares the president’s well-known surname.
Joshua Trump, a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Del., who likes science, art and history and loves animals, has “been bullied in school due to his last name,” the White House’s announcement said. (He is not related to the president.)
The announcement noted that Joshua “is thankful to the first lady and the Trump family for their support.” Last year, Mrs. Trump — who has said she is the “most bullied person” in the world — introduced her “Be Best” public awareness campaign, which seeks to teach children to be kind.
In selecting an eclectic mix of guests, the Trumps appeared to follow a similar approach to the one they used last year.
In 2018, they invited two couples whose daughters were most likely killed by members of the MS-13 gang; a boy who organized the placement of more than 40,000 American flags and red carnations on soldiers’ graves; and representatives from an Ohio manufacturing company that, crediting the passage of Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, gave out Christmas bonuses to its employees.