RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Among the guests at the State of the Union, the daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Gerald and Sherri David. The couple was murdered in January in their south Reno home.
"Here tonight is Debra Bissel. Just three weeks ago, Debra's parents, Gerald and Sharon were burglarized and were shot to death in their Reno, Nevada home by an illegal alien," President Trump said in his speech.
Truckee Meadows Community College political science professor Fred Lokken says this local connection fits the president's belief that there is a crisis at the southern border.
"Unfortunately the recent string of murders here in the area does feed the notion of illegals coming across the border that do commit violence," Lokken said.
"To Debra, Heather and Madison, please stand. For few can understand your pain. Thank you for being here," the President said.
Lokken said the Davids' presence isn't intended for those in the chamber.
"This is literally getting back to his base," Lokken said. "Reaffirming why he feels there's a crisis at the southern border."
Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto weighed in following the speech.
"I've listened to Sheriff Furlong, who I have a lot of respect for and who I've worked with, who indicated that the immigration status of the individual really wasn't a contributing factor in the horrific crime that occurred," Cortez-Masto said.