Born at just under 22 weeks and weighing less than a pound, Ellie Schneider wasn’t expected to live. At 2 years old, Ellie is one of the youngest babies to survive in the United States, and tonight, she will be among President Donald Trump’s special guests during the State of the Union.
The Kansas City, Missouri, native and her mother, Robin Schneider, will be on Capitol Hill for the president’s annual address.
“She was 14 ounces, which is just a little bigger than a can of Coke,” Schneider said in 2017, noting she and her husband Joel were fearful they were going to lose Ellie.
Robin Schneider described her daughter’s birth as “a miracle.”
“The fact that she’s alive and has as few complications as she does is a miracle,” she explained. “There’s no other way around it. Whether or not you believe in God — it’s a miracle. She should not be here, and she needs to know that. That she has a special calling on her life.”
Trump has used the platform of the SOTU address to advance the pro-life message. During his 2019 speech, the president urged lawmakers to ban late-term abortion, declaring that “all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”
Who else will be there?
In addition to inviting the Schneiders, Trump is inviting nine other guests.
Tony Rankins from Cincinnati, Ohio
Rankins, a veteran in the U.S. Army, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder and became addicted to drugs. After having lost his job and serving several stints in prison, Rankins has a job at the Opportunity Zone, which has “helped him overcome drug addiction and reunite with his family.”
Raul Ortiz from Del Rio, Texas
In 2019, Ortiz, a deputy chief with U.S. Border Patrol, became responsible for all Border Patrol operations in 41 Texas counties, to include 210 miles of border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Jody Jones from Farmersville, California
Jones’ brother was fatally shot in December by an undocumented immigrant who was, at the time, released from prison thanks to California’s so-called “sanctuary state policy.” Jones’ brother, Rocky, leaves behind a daughter and four brothers.
Janiyah and Stephanie Davis from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Janiyah is a fourth-grade student who “loves art and math, but for too long she has been assigned to low-performing schools,” according to the White House. Her mother, Stephanie, is hoping “for the expansion of school choice to be able to send Janiyah to a school that best serves her needs.”
Kelli and Gage Hake from Stillwater, Oklahoma
Kelli’s husband U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Hake was killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb supplied by Iranian terror leader Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike last month near Baghdad’s international airport. Kelli will be joined by her son, Gage.
Paul Morrow from Montgomery, Alabama
Morrow, a U.S. Army veteran, “started a successful contracting business and today is building a new concrete plant in an Opportunity Zone,” according to the White House. His work “will help support several brand new F-35 jets that are stationed in the region.”
Ivan Simonovis from Caracas, Venezuela
Simonovis is the former police chief in Venezuela’s capital and was imprisoned in 2004 “for protecting protesters and was held in captivity for nearly 15 years by the Chavez and Maduro regimes,” the White House stated. In 2019, Simonovis escaped Venezuela and emigrated to Florida.