It is traditional for the president and the first lady to invite guests to hear the State of the Union address, and though this year’s speech was delayed by the government shutdown, today the list was released, and First Lady Melania Trump invited someone with a familiar last name.
The New York Magazine Intelligencer says that Joshua Trump, an 11-year-old sixth grader from Wilmington, Delaware, will attend the president’s speech with his parents after being “severely bullied” for having the last name Trump. Today, the White House released a list of guests with descriptions of each person’s background.
“Joshua has been bullied in school due to his last name.”
First Lady Melania Trump explains that inviting Joshua Trump to the State of the Union is the latest initiative in her Be Best campaign in which she “encourage[s] everyone to be kind to each other and treat each other with respect in everyday life and on social media.”
Melania Trump has great empathy for Joshua Trump as she has expressed in interviews that she believes she is the most bullied person in the world after wearing a controversial jacket to visit the U.S. border with Mexico.
This poor kid has been bullied at school because his last name is Trump and now he gets to go to the State of the Union, presumably as a guest of the First Lady. That's freaking awesome! I hope the media and blue checkmark twitter can resist the urge to destroy him for smiling. pic.twitter.com/8oeMvvMxQJ— Shem Horne (@Shem_Infinite) February 5, 2019
Joshua Trump is understandably a young boy in a tough position along with approximately 4,788 others in the United States with that particular last name. In December, Joshua chose to stop using his last name at school, and his parents have homeschooled him for a time due to the bullying he has suffered from his classmates.
The Washington Times says that Joshua has always used his mother Megan Trump’s last name (the family is not related to the president and his family), but as a result of the taunting, he started to use his father’s last name which is Berto.
His mother says that Joshua has had a really rough time at school.
“They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid. 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.”
Mark Mayer, principal of Talley Middle School in Wilmington where Joshua attends school, says that many of the teachers have tried to avoid saying his last name as to not “provoke” the other students.