Guest list reflects political divide
Tonight, President Trump will give his first State of the Union address; we’ll have a live post on that later, so be sure to come back and share the fun. In the meantime, the guest lists for both the president and the Democrats have been released.
The contrast between those guests invited by the president and those invited by the tone-deaf Democrats is illuminating, speaking to the heart of the great political divide in our country. President Trump’s guests include law enforcement, first responders, and economists. The Democrats are bringing a bunch of DREAMers and some representatives of the dwindling #MeToo movement.
The White House released a list of invitees that includes military heroes, ICE and border control agents, the founder of the Cajun Navy, parents of children slaughtered by the brutal illegal alien street gang MS-13, and the organizer of the Flags and Flowers challenge, a movement dedicated to respecting veterans by placing flags and flowers on their graves.
Here is the full list:
Corey Adams: Corey Adams is a skilled welder at Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Dayton, Ohio, where he has worked for more than eight years. During 2017, Corey and his wife were able to become first-time homeowners, and they will invest their extra money from tax reform into their two daughters’ education savings.
Elizabeth Alvarado, Robert Mickens, Evelyn Rodriguez, and Freddy Cuevas: Elizabeth Alvarado and Robert Mickens are the parents of Nisa Mickens. Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas are the parents of Kayla Cuevas. Nisa and Kayla had been close friends since elementary school, but in September 2016, the two girls were chased down and brutally murdered. Their deaths were among a string of 17 Long Island slayings that have been attributed to Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13.
Corporal (Ret.) Matthew Bradford: Matthew Bradford joined the United States Marine Corps straight out of high school and deployed to Iraq in 2006. In 2007, he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). Shrapnel shot into both of his eyes, blinding him, and the explosion also took both of his legs. After multiple surgeries and therapy, Matthew reenlisted in the Marine Corps—the first blind, double amputee to do so.
Jon Bridgers: Jon Bridgers founded the Cajun Navy 2016, as a non-profit rescue and recovery organization to respond to flooding in south Louisiana. In 2017, the Cajun Navy set out to provide aid to those in Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey. He and the Cajun Navy 2016 have helped thousands of people across the South, and to this day, they are helping collect resources and donations for those who lost their homes in the storms.
David Dahlberg: David Dahlberg works as a fire prevention technician in southern California, stationed at the Pine Canyon Fire Station in the Santa Lucia Ranger District. In July 2017, he saved 62 children and staff members from a raging wildfire that had encircled their camp.
Officer Ryan Holets: Ryan Holets serves as a police officer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In his six years on the force, he has been shot at twice and experienced several near-death encounters. Officer Holets and his wife adopted a baby from parents who suffered from opioid addiction, breaking down walls between drug addicts and police officers to help save lives.
Ashlee Leppert: Ashlee Leppert has dedicated her life to her country, serving as an aviation electronics technician in the United States Coast Guard. Last year, she rescued dozens of Americans imperiled during the devastating hurricane season. Nothing has left more of a mark on Ashlee than her efforts to lift a woman to safety in a helicopter basket. The woman was clutching a few bags of what Ashlee thought were clothes. As she drew the woman near, however, Ashlee saw four sets of children’s eyes looking at her as their guardian angel.
Agent Celestino “CJ” Martinez: CJ Martinez is a Supervisory Special Agent for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit. He has spent much of his 15-year tenure working to dismantle transnational criminal organizations, including MS-13. His investigations have led to more than 100 arrests of MS-13 gang members who have been prosecuted for crimes, including homicide, assault, and narcotics and weapons trafficking. CJ is a proud veteran, having honorably served our Nation in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard for more than 22 years.
Staff Sergeant Justin Peck: Staff Sergeant Justin Peck has served in the United States Army for eight years. In November 2017, he was part of a team, along with Chief Petty Officer Kenton Stacy, that was conducting a multi-day mission with partner forces in Raqqa, Syria, to clear IEDs from territory previously controlled by ISIS. After the team had located and disarmed seven IEDs, Chief Petty Officer Stacy was clearing the second floor of a hospital building when he was struck by an IED blast and severely wounded. Without hesitation, Staff Sergeant Peck, who was holding a position outside the building, rushed to Stacy’s location on the uncleared, IED-ridden second floor. Staff Sergeant Peck’s actions—including applying a tourniquet, placing an endotracheal tube, and performing artificial respirations and CPR—were directly responsible for saving Chief Petty Officer Stacy’s life.
Preston Sharp: Preston Sharp was visiting his veteran grandfather’s grave in 2015, when he noticed that other local veterans’ graves were not being honored with American flags or flowers. Today, Preston has organized the placement of more than 40,000 American flags and red carnations on soldiers’ graves, as part of his goal to honor veterans in all 50 States and to challenge others to join the Flag and Flower Challenge (#FandFChallenge).
Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger: Siblings Steve Staub and Sandy Kepingler started Staub Manufacturing Solutions, a contract manufacturing company specializing in metal fabrication, twenty years ago. Today, they serve as president and vice president, respectively. Thanks to the “Trump bump” in their business, Staub Manufacturing Solutions has seen an uptick in sales, employment, and optimism. They have grown their team from 23 to 37 employees over the last year and recently expanded by acquiring a new building. Following enactment of the tax cuts and reform legislation last year, they were able to give all their employees larger than expected Christmas bonuses.
In a bizarre move, a Republican has invited Bill Nye, “the [faux] science guy.”
. . . . Bill Nye the Science Guy will also be in attendance as the guest of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla.
It’s an interesting pairing, considering Bridenstine’s history of denying humans’ role in climate change and Nye’s role in expanding knowledge on the subject and criticism of climate change deniers.
Bridenstine, however, has changed his tune in recent months, after he was nominated by Trump to lead NASA. In his confirmation hearing, the congressman acknowledged that “humans are contributing” to climate change.
“He’s changed his mind, and in science that’s generally a good thing,” Nye told Quartz. “I am hopeful that others will see the wisdom in the Congressman’s evolving view and follow suit.”
Even Nye, however, acknowledges that Bridenstine’s invitation is not related to anthropomorphic climate change.
Tomorrow night I will attend the State of the Union as a guest of Congressman Jim Bridenstine – nominee for NASA Administrator – who extended me an invitation in my role as CEO of The Planetary Society….
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) January 29, 2018
…The Society is the world’s largest and most influential non-governmental nonpartisan space organization, co-founded by Carl Sagan. While the Congressman and I disagree on a great many issues – we share a deep respect for NASA and its achievements…
— Bill Nye (@BillNye) January 29, 2018
Democrats, on the other hand, have invited a slew of DREAMers, a handful of #MeToo activists, and people related to various Democrat causes.
Politics is never far away, however, as Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sneaks in a tiny reminder of #NeverthelessShePersisted.
Pointing to Trump’s decision to end protections for so-called Dreamers under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who will skip the speech, announced that Dreamer Aldo Solano will attend in his place.
Many of the Democratic senators and representatives who will be in attendance have also chosen guests who will serve as a rebuke to Trump and draw attention to issues such as immigration, hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and Trump’s attempt to ban transgender members of the military.
. . . . Several other lawmakers have invited family members of undocumented immigrants who have been deported under Trump, such as Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), whose guest will be Cindy Garcia. Garcia’s husband, Jorge, was recently deported to Mexico after living in the U.S. for nearly 30 years.
In addition to DACA, Trump administration officials have also announced plans to eliminate temporary protected status (TPS) for thousands of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and Nicaragua, and have created uncertainty for immigrants from other countries included in TPS — underscored by Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), who have all invited immigrants who fall under TPS protections.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) invited Jean Bradley Derenoncourt, a city council member in Brockton, Massachusetts, who is originally from Haiti, one of the countries Trump reportedly referred to as a “shithole” in a meeting about immigration issues.
“His story embodies American values of hard work, service, and persistence,” Warren said in a statement.
The line-up for the Democrats reads like a “Not Really Pressing Concerns For Americans” top ten list: illegal immigrants first, open borders, sexual misconduct, and transgender bathrooms. Americans care about what Trump is talking about: jobs, the economy, and making America great again.
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