President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday might be nothing to look forward to, but there’s a silver lining regarding who will be in attendance.
Ana Maria Archila, one of two women who was recorded in September confronting then-Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator during the confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, will be attending the State of the Union as a guest of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Intercept reported.
Along with fellow protester Maria Gallagher, Archila—who is from Queens and is Ocasio-Cortez’s constituent—blocked the doors of Flake’s elevator from closing following Flake’s initial announcement that he would vote for Kavanaugh. Archila berated Flake for voting to pass Kavanaugh’s nomination out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, lecturing him for approving the nomination of a man accused of attempted rape by Christine Blasey Ford, as Flake shifted between silently nodding and cowardly looking at the ground.
Archila’s protest was widely seen across the country, viewed as a symbol of resistance among survivors of sexual violence amid Kavanaugh’s confirmation passing with lock-stepped protection from Republicans. After Archila’s confrontation, Flake said he wouldn’t further support Kavanaugh’s confirmation until the FBI investigated Ford’s recollections of assault. After a sham investigation, Flake eventually voted to confirm Kavanaugh.
“I just feel particularly moved that in [Ocasio-Cortez’s] first participation in the State of the Union she is inviting me to join and inviting that moment of the elevator, my confrontation with the men who do not understand the life of women and the lives of people who are not in power, that she’s inviting that into the imagination of people again,” Archila told The Intercept. “I cherish this privilege that I have as a citizen to vote, but I have never felt so proud of voting for someone as when I voted for Alexandria.”
Former Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams will deliver the Democratic State of the Union response. Victorina Morales, an undocumented Guatemalan woman who was fired by the Trump Organization after speaking to the New York Times about her time as a housekeeper at the president’s Trump National Golf Club, will also be in attendance as a guest, invited by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.