Bullying has continually cropped up as a recurring theme of the Trump presidency, both because of claims that the president himself engages in bullying and because the first lady made eradicating cyberbullying one of her main goals. Given that set of circumstances, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump invited a victim of bullying as their guest to the State of the Union address. It likely wasn't just this student's experience that caught the president's attention, however. One of Trump's State of the Union guests will be a bullied sixth-grader — who is also named Trump.
“They ask me if I’m related to Trump,” the 11 year-old student in question, Joshua Trump, told CBS' Inside Edition in December. “I say, ‘Would I be here if I’m related to him?’”
He added that he was on the receiving end of constant bullying at school because of his name. “When the teacher would say, ‘Joshua Trump, are you here?’ Everybody would laugh except my friends,” the sixth-grader told Inside Edition.
This has led him to start using his father's last name at school instead of Trump, which is his mother's maiden name. And according to Politico, it also led to his State of the Union Invite.
"Joshua Trump is a 6th grade student in Wilmington, Delaware. He appreciates science, art, and history," read Joshua's bio in a White House press release on the Trumps' State of the Union guests. "He also loves animals and hopes to pursue a related career in the future. His hero and best friend is his Uncle Cody, who serves in the United States Air Force."
"Unfortunately, Joshua has been bullied in school due to his last name," the bio continued. "He is thankful to the First Lady and the Trump family for their support."
Joshua's invitation to the speech came thanks to Melania Trump's anti-bullying campaign known as Be Best, according to New York magazine. Be Best has been met with a fair amount of criticism, particularly because of President Trump's tendency to bully people using his Twitter account, as The Guardian has documented.
Beyond the president's use of social media, though, studies have shown that Joshua isn't the only student experiencing more bullying since the Trump presidency began. As Psychology Today wrote, bullying has increased significantly in schools since President Trump took office, in a phenomenon that appears to be directly related to the president.
"The bullying effects of the Trump presidency — dubbed the Trump effect — are devastating, particularly when it comes to bullying of minority groups," a statement from the Human Rights Campaign read, according to Psychology Today. "Especially those who are easily identifiable and/or who are singled out by the president’s statements or actions.”
As of 2016, there were 4,788 people in America with the surname Trump, according to Vox. According to Psychology Today, though, there are far more students who are bullied for other reasons that are also exacerbated by the president's rhetoric.