The White House announced who will be attending Tuesday night’s State of the Union address as guests of first lady Jill Biden, and it includes several people who have figured prominently in the news.
Among those accompanying the first lady will be RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, parents of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, last month. Other guests include Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi, and U2 lead singer Bono.
“Each of these individuals were invited by the White House because they personify issues or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech, or they embody the Biden-Harris Administration’s policies at work for the American people,” the White House’s announcement said.
Markarova’s appearance comes almost exactly one year after Russia invaded Ukraine, initiating a war that continues to this day. Paul Pelosi will be present a little over three months after he suffered an attack in his home, when suspect David DePape allegedly beat him with a hammer. Police footage and interviews of the October attack were released in January.
“The attack reportedly was politically motivated, with the intruder’s alleged intent to harm and kidnap the former Speaker,” the White House’s announcement said. DePape allegedly asked “Where’s Nancy?,” upon entering the home, and the White House noted that this was “a similar chant of those responsible for the January 6th Capitol insurrection.”
DePape admitted in an interview with San Francisco Police that he did ask to see then-House Speaker Pelosi.
Bono’s presence is related to his activism against poverty and AIDS. The White House noted that he and others “played a pivotal role building public and bipartisan political support for the creation of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief),” a program from 20 years ago that President Biden supported when he was a senator during the administration of former President George W. Bush.
These are but a few names on a long list of the first lady’s guests, which also includes Brandon Tsay, who disarmed a gunman during a shooting at a Lunar New Year celebration at California’s Monterey Park that resulted in 11 deaths.
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will also be with the first lady.