Melania Trump's Guests Booted for Ivanka, Tiffany, Donald Trump Jr., Eric and Their Spouses at SOTU: Report

First lady Melania Trump's chosen guests to the State of the Union address were evicted from their planned seats to accommodate her husband President Donald Trump's adult children and their spouses, according to a report highlighting similar instances in the family's U.K. state visit.

Melania Trump invited 28 guests to sit with her in the House chamber. But a few days before the address in February, one of the president's children informed him of the lack of seating and the first lady was told to make room for them, three White House officials told The New York Times in a report published Tuesday.

A half dozen of Melania Trump's guests were moved down the hall to a room with a television, chocolates and White House aides. Filling some of the newly cleared seats in the box were the president's daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner who are both senior White House advisers, first son Eric Trump and his wife Lara Trump, the president's younger daughter Tiffany Trump, and the president's eldest son Donald Trump Jr. Trump Jr. had offered to instead take a seat from a Congress member, officials told The Times.

Melania Ivanka Tiffany Don Eric
First Lady Melania Trump (C) is greeted by the audience, surrounded by family members (from L-R, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, Lara Trump and Tiffany Trump), as she arrives for President Donald Trump's State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on February 5, 2019. Some of Melania Trump's guests were reportedly booted to accommodate the president's children and their spouses. Getty/MANDEL NGAN

Other seats were given to two people from Tennessee who faced reduced sentences thanks to the Trump administration's criminal justice reform. The first lady's reassigned guests included the mother of a 10-year-old cancer survivor, Grace Eline, who helps kids with the disease and the father of sixth grader Joshua Trump who is not related to the president but faced bullying due to his last name.

A White House official at the time said the seat changes were granted at the last minute at the request of the president's children. Melania Trump's guests had been invited to sit in the box a month before the address.

"I think they just had a lot of people in general," Eline's mother Aubrey Reichard-Eline said, adding she was not upset about being moved from the prime seating. "They ended up focusing on the true guests."

Melania Trump's spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Newsweek on Tuesday.

The new Times report made the point that "for Mr. Trump's children, the Buckingham Palace visit was the highest-profile example of a change in presidential plans made to include them, but it was not the only one."

A few of the president's family members reportedly told the White House a month before the Europe trip that they wanted to be included. Discussions ensued on whether they could travel on Air Force One, but the plane was at capacity with Melania Trump and government officials. So Ivanka Trump, who had tweeted she was "joining the U.S. delegation," traveled separately to the U.K. on Saturday and Kushner arrived from the Middle East also on his own.

Journalist Vicky Ward reported Ivanka Trump and Kushner's apparent self-entitlement to Air Force One in her book Kushner Inc. published in March.

"Ms. Trump ... often requested to travel on Air Force planes when it was not appropriate," Ward wrote. "When Rex W. Tillerson, the former secretary of state, would deny the requests, the couple would invite along a Cabinet secretary, often Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, to get access to a plane."

Melania Trump's Guests Booted for Ivanka, Tiffany, Donald Trump Jr., Eric and Their Spouses at SOTU: Report | Politics
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