Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Keith Ellison are urging colleagues to invite Muslim Americans as guests to Tuesday night's State of the Union address. So far, more than a dozen lawmakers — mostly Democrats — have heeded their call.
It's not uncommon for lawmakers to choose State of the Union guests that make a political statement. Several Democrats are planning to bring guests who have been victims of gun violence, while two members of a Catholic religious order challenging the 2010 Affordable Care Act will attend after invitations from Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).
The appeal from Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chair of the Democratic National Committee, and Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, comes at a time of rising anti-Muslim rhetoric from politicians like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and a wave of incidents targeting people of Muslim faith.