Speed Reads

politics' biggest night

SOTU guest list includes Tyre Nichols' family and U2's Bono

President Biden will deliver his 2023 State of the Union address on Tuesday at 9 p.m., and, like any high-profile political event, the guest list includes a few notable names. 

"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 release detailing the attendees planning to join second gentleman Doug Emhoff and first lady Jill Biden in her viewing box.

Among the 26 VIPs are Brandon Tsay, a bystander credited with disarming the gunman who killed 11 in Jan. 21 mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, as well as Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, who was invited a second time "in recognition of sustained U.S. support for Ukraine nearly a year after Russia launched its unprovoked attack." 

RowVaughn and Rodney Wells — the mother and stepfather of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died in the hospital after a group of Memphis police officers beat him during a traffic stop — will also join Biden and Emhoff in the viewing box. "President Biden has made clear that we must take action to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again," the White House said in its statement. "In addition to signing an executive order last year, the president continues to call on Congress to send the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to his desk."

Additional selected attendees include Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) husband Paul Pelosi, who was attacked with a hammer at the couple's home in fall 2022; Saria Gwin-Maye, an ironworker and union member who will get the opportunity to work on "significant projects nationwide as a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law"; and U2 lead singer Bono, who the administration described as a "groundbreaking activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty."