Who is attending the State of the Union? Here are notable guests for Biden’s 2024 address

Washington — President Biden is set to deliver his State of the Union address to Congress on Thursday, where he’ll have a chance to frame the beginning stages of the all-but-certain general election rematch with former President Donald Trump. And the lists of guests set to attend illustrate the key priorities — and divisions — among the two parties. 

From reproductive rights to immigration to Russia and Israel, the guests shine a spotlight on issues that the leaders have sought to highlight as November’s election approaches. 

Among the White House’s guests, who will join first lady Jill Biden in the House gallery on Thursday, are IVF patients, gun control activists, civil rights advocates and recipients of student loan debt relief.

Kate Cox, a Texas woman who made headlines for speaking out after being denied an abortion in the state, is also among the list, as is Shawn Fain, the president of the United Auto Workers union, who recently endorsed Mr. Biden. And Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden, which recently cleared the last hurdle to join NATO, is also expected to attend at the White House’s invitation.

President Biden speaks to Congress during his State of The Union address on Feb. 8, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
President Biden speaks to Congress during his State of The Union address on Feb. 8, 2023, in Washington, D.C.

Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“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 said in a statement. 

A White House official confirmed to CBS News that Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of the late Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, was invited but unable to attend.

Elsewhere in the chamber on Thursday will be the guests of Speaker Mike Johnson, who has been highlighting how the nation is in “decline” under President Biden’s leadership in advance of the address. Johnson, who became speaker last year, will be seated behind the president during the address on Thursday, alongside Vice President Kamala Harris.

Johnson’s guest list includes family members of service members killed during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 and relatives of individuals believed to be taken hostage by Hamas. He also invited guests meant to highlight administration’s immigration policies, and an advocate against transgender athletes competing in women’s sports. The parents of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been detained in Russia since March 2023, will likewise be in attendance. 

“There will be a wide chasm between the picture of America President Biden attempts to paint tonight and the reality our country is facing,” Johnson said in a statement, adding that “while America’s state of the union is sadly in decline, these individuals remind us of America’s greatness, even in the face of such challenging circumstances.”

Sara Cook contributed reporting. 

Source link