State of the Union

All the President's Human Props: Welders, Cops, Vets Will Be Trotted Out During SOTU

Donald Trump will continue the awful tradition of showcasing "Skutniks" at the State of the Union address.


C-SPAN, Nick Gillespie

Via Politico comes this list of "special guests" that Donald Trump will showcase tomorrow during his State of the Union address (SOTU) tomorrow night at 9:00 P.M. ET. The human exhibits include crime victims, veterans, entrepreneurs, and beneficiaries of various Trump actions.

Corey Adams — Welder from Dayton, Ohio, who, along with his wife, became a first-time home buyer last year. Sanders said he would take money saved from the president's tax-cut package and set it aside to pay for his two daughters' education.

Elizabeth Alvarado, Robert Mickens, Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas — The two couples are parents of girls killed by MS-13 gang members.

Matthew Bradford — Marine Corps veteran who stepped on an IED in Iraq in 2007, costing him both of his legs and his eyesight. He was the first blind double-amputee to re-enlist in the Marines.

Jon Bridgers — Founder of the Cajun Navy, a nonprofit group that engages in rescue efforts, most notably during the flooding in Houston that resulted from Hurricane Harvey last fall.

David Dahlberg — Fire prevention technician who saved 62 people, including children and staff members, when a Southern California wildfire encircled their camp last July.

Ryan Holets — Police officer from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who adopted a baby from parents addicted to opioids.

Ashlee Leppert — Coast Guard aviation electronics technician who engaged in rescue efforts during the historic hurricane season last year.

CJ Martinez — Supervisory special agent for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations unit, whose investigations have led to the arrests of more than 100 MS-13 gang members.

Justin Peck — Army staff sergeant who aided a team member wounded last November by an IED, saving his life.

Preston Sharp — Creator of the Flag and Flower challenge, dedicated to honoring deceased veterans at military cemeteries by placing an American flag and a red carnation on their grave sites.

Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger— Sibling founders of Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Dayton, Ohio, who were able to grow their business and offer their employees a larger holiday bonus, Sanders said, because of Trump's tax-cut legislation.


More here.

Ronald Reagan is to blame for the nauseating twist on the annual presidential report that's mandated by the Constitution. Back in 1982, the master showman highlighted the heroism of Lenny Skutnik, a Congressional Budget Office staffer who pulled a drowning passenger out of the Potomac River after an Air Florida plane crashed in that slow-moving cesspool. Ever since then, almost every State of the Union address has featured one or more "Skutniks," or Americans who somehow embody everyday heroism, stoicism, victimhood, or identity politics. I've got nothing against Skutnik, who was indeed a hero, but this is a tradition hammier than an Easter dinner. Past Skutniks have included such luminaries as Second Lady and would-be music censor Tipper Gore, steroid-popping and bat-corking baseball slugger Sammy Sosa, and epically corrupt and incompetent Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

Tune in to Reason tomorrow for a live stream discussion featuring Katherine Mangu-Ward, Matt Welch, and Peter Suderman. That begins at the conclusion of the State of the Union Address, which begins at 9:00 P.M ET.

Earlier today on the Reason Podcast, Mangu-Ward, Suderman, Welch, and I talked about the SOTU and related topics. Listen via iTunes or click below to catch up on that.

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