Army veteran, Border Patrol deputy among President Trump’s guests for State of the Union

WASHINGTON  ─ For U.S. Army veteran Tony Rankins, it was hard to put into words what it would mean to be a gust of President Donald Trump at the State of the Union address Tuesday night, Feb. 4.

“It’s unbelievable, from sleeping on the streets to being here at the White House,” Rankins said.

Rankins said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) but overcame homelessness and addiction with the help of a job, which was made possible by President Trump’s Opportunity Zones program.

“Without that, I would’ve never gotten a job,” Rankins said. “…it means a lot to my family because I’ve brought so much shame to them, but now, maybe they’ll see if we are all right.”

Border Patrol Deputy Chief Raul Ortiz, another of President Trump’s guests said he recognizes the importance of securing the nation’s southern border.

“He also recognizes that there’s a border security issue and national security issue that we must deal with,” Ortiz said of President Trump. “Understand that we have a humanitarian crisis.”

Jody Jones’ brother was murdered by an illegal immigrant back in 2018. He said President Trump invited him to the State of the Union address to highlight the programs that come with illegal immigration.

“We have to do something because it’s breaking our communities down,” Jones said.

But President Trump faces an uphill battle to bridge the divide between political parties and untie the country that’s watched an impeachment trial play out for months.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said he hopes President Trump will work with the Democrats instead of against them.