WASHINGTON (AP) — Scenes from the Capitol on a night of pomp, pageantry and politics for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address:
Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, the first person to have sex reassignment surgery paid for by the military, is attending the State of the Union address.
King, 37, is an 18-year Army veteran and infantry squad leader at Fort Lewis, Washington. King is the guest of Massachusetts Rep. Joe Kennedy III, who is giving the Democratic response.
Trump said in July that the government would not allow transgender people to serve in the military, reversing an Obama-era policy.
A federal appeals panel in the District of Columbia rejected Trump’s bid to start the ban Jan. 1, and the Pentagon has said it will allow transgender enlistment to continue as legal struggles play out.
King, who grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has twice been deployed to Afghanistan and has been awarded the Bronze Star.
A Republican congressman from Arizona said any “illegal aliens” who attend the State of the Union address as guests of Democrats should be arrested and deported.
More than 20 Democratic lawmakers have invited “Dreamers,” young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and are living here illegally. Congress has been unable to come up with a legislative solution for their legal status, which was at the center of the recent government shutdown.
“Of all the places where the rule of law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress,” Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted. “Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported.”
A spokeswoman for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “The speaker clearly does not agree.” The U.S. Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Among the high-profile Democrats who have invited Dreamers to the speech are House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.
Gosar’s suggestion drew a quick rejoinder from Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who tweeted back: “This is why we can’t have nice things…”