First lady Melania Trump was missed during her president's recent trip to Davos, Switzerland, but the same "scheduling and logistics" issues won't keep her from attending the State of the Union on Tuesday. For those of you wondering if Melania will be at the State of the Union, the answer is absolutely yes.
Stephanie Grisham, the communications director for the First Lady, confirms to Bustle that Melania will definitely be in attendance for the Tuesday evening speech. The first lady actually gets her own box at the event, which has traditionally been filled with guests who reflect policy priorities of the administration.
The president traditionally acknowledges the guests and often ties them into the speech to make a policy point. The habit began under Ronald Reagan, who got the whole chamber on their feet in 1982 to cheer for a man, Lenny Skutnik, who had jumped into the Hudson River to help a plane crash victim. Ever since, these people have been placed in the box, as Michelle Obama put it in 2016, to "exemplify the themes and ideals that the president lays out in his address."
This year, most of the speech is expected to be on domestic issues, and the guests will reflect those priorities. Melania will host someone affected by the opioid crisis as well as a beneficiary of the GOP's tax cuts. Last year, the first lady had seven guests at Trump's joint address to Congress, including Carryn Owens, the widow of slain Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.
This year's SOTU speech is an attempt by the White House to show President Trump as a unifier, The Guardian reported. An official told the paper that there will be five main points, including the economy, infrastructure spending, free trade negotiations, immigration reform, and national security. The goal is to show that all Americans are benefiting under the Trump presidency. Melania's guests are a part of that message.
"The speech will make clear that all groups are benefiting under this presidency,” the White House official told The Guardian. “I think you can expect that the president is going to show that it’s great for America that all income groups, all people, every background are being lifted up by these policies."
As for why the first lady's attendance was even a question, there was a lot of speculation after her decision to skip Davos. Rumors around Melania's relationship with the president reached such a fervor that her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, attacked recent news reports on Twitter on Friday, saying that "salacious & flat-out false reporting about Mrs. Trump" had seeped into the "main stream media."
There were rumors that the first lady had been staying at a hotel following news that Trump had allegedly slept with a porn star while he was married to Melania. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the president's personal lawyers had paid $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels just before the 2016 election to keep quiet about an alleged affair with the president. Trump has denied "any such occurrence" through a lawyer, Michael Cohen. Daniels has also avoided answering any questions about the alleged affair.
Grisham denied the rumors as well in her Twitter post, going on to say that Melania "is focused on her family & role as FLOTUS — not the unrealistic scenarios being peddled daily by the fake news."
Considering the past year in the United States, Trump's speech will be closely watched by political insiders and everyday Americans across the country. Only some will be lucky enough to do so in person, and the first lady is definitely going to be one of them.