Willie Robertson, one of the stars of TV's "Duck Dynasty" and a representative of the family's mainstream Christian values, will be in the House gallery Tuesday night for President Obama's State of the Union address, the guest of Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister.
“Yes. He is confirmed for attendance tonight,” said a family spokeswoman.
For Robertson, the president of the firm that makes game calls, it's a well-deserved thank you from Republican McAllister, who surprised the Establishment and won his special election last November with the backing of Robertson, a local hero.
But he also offers a symbolic balance to the efforts at this year's Grammy Awards and in the first lady's box that conservatives say push the envelope of diversity. The Grammys telecast Sunday night included a mass wedding for 34 couples -- some same-sex, some straight -- and Michelle Obama has invited Jason Collins, the NBA player who came out last year as gay, an indication the president will promote gay marriage in his speech.
Robertson's father, Phil Robertson, was criticized when in an interview last year he called homosexuality sinful. "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph from there," the 67-year-old said when GQ asked what is sinful. "Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
Their show was suspended briefly by A&E, but fans and conservative commentators rallied behind it.
Some Republicans wooed Willie Robertson to run for the seat won by McAllister, but he turned down the chance and eventually endorsed McAllister.
In a statement, McAllister said, “I am proud to have my close friend, constituent and small business owner, Willie Robertson, attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as my special guest. Willie is thankful for this opportunity and honored to attend. I look forward to the two of us representing the Fifth District in D.C. this evening and bringing some diversity to our nation’s capitol.”Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.