A Delaware boy who has been bullied over the last name he shares with President Donald Trump was invited to attend Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.
Five students who harassed 11-year-old Joshua Trump, of Wilmington, were disciplined by Talley Middle School officials in December, according to 6ABC.
Joshua will be in the U.S. Capitol Tuesday as a guest of the president and first lady. The White House said all the president’s guests for the State of the Union Address “represent the very best of America.”
The Trump campaign’s Delaware chairman Rob Arlett says the sixth-grader’s story should encourage tolerance.
Bullying “should not — and it is not — a Republican issue. It is not a Democratic issue. It truly should be a humane issue,” Arlett said. “I believe as a Christian we are all true miracles from God and we all should be respectful of those miracles.”
At the same time, many critics have accused the president of being a bully and encouraging bullying behavior, especially in the way he refers to political opponents with derogatory names.
He’s frequently called Democratic U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” He also referred to political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz “a low-class slob.”
Arlett acknowledged that Trump can improve the way he treats others. He’s hopeful the inclusion of Joshua Trump on Tuesday’s guest list is a move in that direction.
“I think the president certainly can, there’s area of improvement for that,” Arlett said. “I think that’s something that I would encourage him to continue to be a leader in, leading by example, and I think perhaps this is a move in the right direction, highlighting Joshua today as anti-bullying.”
Joshua will join first lady Melania Trump in the gallery Tuesday night. She has spoken out against bullying through her “Be Best” campaign.
He will not be the only Delaware resident attending tonight’s speech.
Wilmington Police Chief Robert Tracy will also be there as a guest of Delaware U.S. Sen. Chris Coons.
In January, Wilmington announced a 60 percent drop in the number of shooting victims in 2018 compared with 2017. Homicides also fell substantially, and more of them were solved as citizen complaints of excessive force and other misbehavior by officers fell.
“[Tracy] has made a measurable impact on the safety of the residents, quality of life in the city, and built a stronger bond of trust with those he serves,” Coons said in a statement. “I am thankful for his willingness to join me for tonight’s address.”
Trump’s second State of the Union address is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 9 p.m.