Trump's State of the Union: Who's attending?

Millions of Americans are expected to watch President Trump's first State of the Union address.

It's obviously going to be "must-watch TV," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said during Monday's press briefing.

From members of Congress to distinguished guests handpicked by the president himself, here are some of the people who are expected to be in the audience on Tuesday.

The first lady

melania trump

First Lady Melania Trump will have her own viewing box at the State of the Union.  (AP)

Melania Trump will have her own viewing box in the gallery of the House chamber.

Guests of the president

Fifteen guests will join Mrs. Trump in the gallery at the president's request. It’s a tradition that was started President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

“Some of these individual stories are heroic. Some are patriotic. Others are tragic,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a press briefing on Monday. “But all of them represent the unbreakable American spirit and will inspire our nation to continue growing stronger, prouder and more prosperous.” 

A Marine Corps. veteran, a cop, a welder and the parents of MS-13 victims are among those who were tapped by the president to attend Tuesday's speech.

"I will be joined tonight by an honorable group of Americans," Mrs. Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "Sitting with me are heroes who have served our nation in times of need, families who have suffered at the hands of evil, and citizens who have embraced the American dream."

Evelyn Rodriguez

Evelyn Rodriguez, whose 16-year-old daughter Kayla Cuevas was found beaten and stabbed by members of the MS-13, will attend the State of the Union.  (Fox News)


Members of Trump's Cabinet, and the heads of 15 executive departments, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, are also invited to attend.

John Kelly

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is expected to attend Trump's SOTU.  (Fox News)

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will have reserved seats at the front of the room. 

Supreme Court justices

Four of the Supreme Court's nine justices -- Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Neil Gorsuch -- are expected to attend Trump's speech.

As with Trump, this will be Gorsuch's first SOTU. He was nominated by Trump to fill the Supreme Court seat of Justice Antonin Scalia early last year.

It's no surprise Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito are skipping the address. They haven't attended the event in years.

Alito last went in 2010, when he was captured on camera shaking his head and mouthing the words "not true" in response to President Barack Obama's criticism of the court's ruling in the Citizens United campaign finance case.

Both Anthony Kennedy and Sonia Sotomayor have travel plans. Kennedy will be in California; Sotomayor will be in Panama.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg will also be out of town. The 84-year-old justice will be at Roger Williams University's law school in Rhode Island for a chat that was announced in August, the Providence Journal reported.

Members of Congress

Members of the House and Senate will also be in attendance, along with one guest of his/her choosing.

There’s no assigned seating for members, with the exception of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence, who will sit directly behind Trump on the dais.

"In accord with longstanding custom and to ensure the continuity of government, one Cabinet secretary does not attend the speech," the Congressional Research Service says. "After Sept. 11, 2001, congressional leadership began designating two members from each house of Congress, representing both parties, to remain absent from the Capitol during the president’s speech."

President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., gestures on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, before his address to a joint session of Congress. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Speaker Paul Ryan and Vice President Mike Pence will sit directly behind President Trump on the dais.  (AP)

However, there may be a few more empty chairs this year, as several Democrats have already announced plans to boycott the event.

Joint Chiefs of Staff

Members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior uniformed leaders in the Defense Department who help advise the president and his staff on military matters will also attend the address.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.