Melania’s Special State Of The Union Guest Is An 11-Year-Old Boy Who Has Been Mercilessly Bullied For His Last Name

As if the running soap opera about President Donald Trump’s impending State of the Union hasn’t been absurd enough––you can thank the government shutdown for much of that––we’ve now learned that one the guests of President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at the State of the Union will be a middle schooler.

That’s right: Joshua Trump, a sixth-grade student from Wilmington, Delaware, who is not related to the president, will be there.

You might remember Joshua for making headlines last year after his parents went public with stories of the bullying he experienced as a result of his last name.

“They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid,” his mother, Megan Trump Berto, told ABC affiliate, WPVI, at the time.

Joshua’s parents recalled that the bullying began shortly after Donald Trump began campaigning.

“I pulled him out of school and homeschooled him for a year,” his father said.

The parents were hopeful that the bullying would cease as Joshua entered middle school, but it only intensified.

“He said he hates himself, and he hates his last name, and he feels sad all the time, and he doesn’t want to live feeling like that anymore, and as a parent that’s scary,” Trump Berto said.

The story gets a little wilder from there: Joshua’s parents met with school officials to tell them about their son’s past problems in school. Teachers and staff would try not to say Joshua’s last name aloud to avoid the possibility of confrontation with other students.

“I do know the teachers were aware of the last name, and I know in speaking with the student that the teachers do their very best to try not to say his last name,” Mark Mayer, principal of Talley Middle School, said.

The decision to invite Joshua Trump is the latest initiative of Melania Trump’s Be Best campaign, in which the First Lady “encourage[s] everyone to be kind to each other and treat each other with respect in everyday life and on social media.” As New York Magazine points out, Joshua Trump is one of about “4,788 Americans living with an unfortunate surname in a highly polarized political moment.”

That Trump would invite a boy who, through no fault of his own, has been bullied for his last name, is rather ironic, considering the president’s history of using derogatory nicknames to criticize foreign leaders, media figures, politicians, and even private citizens. (In this respect, the Be Best campaign is utterly ridiculous from the start.)

This fact wasn’t lost on the president’s critics.

Nor did it escape anyone that Joshua Trump would likely not be the target of bullying if the president wasn’t such a sordid figure to begin with.

Political theatre? (Likely.)

And here’s some friendly advice from a Mr. Semen. (Sorry: Siemon.)

Joshua Trump is one of 13 guests invited to the State of the Union tonight. The list includes:

  • Alice Marie Johnson, a first-time nonviolent drug offender whose sentence was commuted by Trump after meeting with Kim Kardashian-West, who advocated on Johnson’s behalf.
  • Timothy Matson and Judah Samet, who survived the anti-Semitic Tree of Life Synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh in October 2018. (Samet is also a Holocaust survivor.)
  • Ashley Evans, who has “struggled with opioid and substance abuse for much of her life,” according to the White House. and has now been sober for a year.
  • Matthew Charles, who spent 21 years in prison for drug-related offenses, was sent back after relapsing and became the first prisoner released as a result of the bipartisan First Step Act, according to the White House.
  • Grace Meline, a nine-year-old girl “who recently finished chemotherapy and today shows no evidence” of germinoma, a type of brain cancer.
  • Elvin Hernandez, a special agent with the Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Homeland Security Department’s Homeland Security Investigations division.
  • Roy James, the plant manager of the Vicksburg Forest Products lumber facility in Mississippi.
  • Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong and Madison Armstrong, the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Gerald and Sharon David, who “were tragically murdered in their home in Nevada by an illegal immigrant in January,” according to the White House.
  • Tom Wibberley, whose 19-year-old son, Navy Seaman Craig Wibberley, was killed in a terrorist attack on the USS Cole in October 2000.

Trump will deliver the State of the Union address tonight at 9 PM Eastern Time / 6 PM Pacific. Fasten your seatbelts: We’re preparing for a bumpy ride and extend our sympathies to the fact checkers who will be working overtime this evening.

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