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Factbox: Biden State of the Union guests include Monterey Park hero, ex-Afghan diplomat


U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday will feature a guest list that includes the man who disarmed a gunman who fatally shot 11 people in California, a former Afghan ambassador, and the family of Tyre Nichols, who was fatally beaten by Memphis police.

Biden is expected to use the speech, which is delivered during a joint session of Congress, as an unofficial start to the 2024 presidential campaign season, laying out his policy priorities.

Following are some of the guests expected to attend:

* Brandon Tsay: Tsay was called a hero by authorities for disarming a gunman who shot dead 11 people during a celebration of the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California. His actions were praised for preventing further bloodshed.

He was invited by U.S. Representative Judy Chu, a Democrat from California.

* The mother of Tyre Nichols, RowVaughn Wells, and his stepfather, Rodney Wells: Nichols, a Black motorist, died after being beaten by police following a Jan. 7 traffic stop. Five Memphis police officers have been charged with his murder.

The parents accepted an invitation earlier this week from the Congressional Black Caucus chairman, U.S. Representative Steven Horsford, who is a Democrat.

* Former Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Roya Rahmani: Rahmani was Afghanistan’s first female ambassador to the United States, serving in the post from December 2018 until July 2021. The United States completed the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan in August 2021 after a 20-year war.

House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul invited Rahmani to be his guest. McCaul, a Republican, said he hoped her presence “will send a signal to the women of Afghanistan that they have not been forgotten.”

Related Galleries:

Brandon Tsay displays the Metal of Courage award he received for stopping the Monterey Park shooter, at a Lunar New Year ceremony in Alhambra, California, U.S., January 29, 2023. REUTERS/Aude Guerrucci

Flanked by Rev. Al Sharpton and her husband Rodney Wells, RowVaughn Wells speaks during the funeral service for her son Tyre Nichols at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, Tenn., on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. Andrew Nelles/Pool via REUTERS