The latest celebrity guest to attend Joe Biden’s State of the Union address was U2 frontman Bono, aka Paul David Hewson.
At Jill Biden’s viewing box, the musician and longtime HIV/AIDS activist joined other guests, including Tyre Nichols’ parents, cancer survivors, military veterans, and first responders.
Hewson was seen sitting next to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, during the session. According to an official statement, the singer was among those invited by the White House to be the President’s guest because they “personify issues or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech.”
The guests also “embodied the Biden-Harris Administration’s policies at work for the American people,” according to the statement. While Bono is not an American citizen and was born in Ireland, he has long been an advocate for global health and AIDS relief efforts.
The musician and other activists were instrumental in garnering public and bipartisan political support for the establishment of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief). President George W. Bush announced the PEPFAR programme in his State of the Union address 20 years ago.
President Joe Biden mentioned the initiative during his State of the Union address, saying:
“Twenty years ago, under the leadership of President Bush and countless advocates and champions, we embarked on a bipartisan effort through PEPFAR to transform the global fight against HIV/AIDS. It was a huge success.
I believe we can accomplish the same thing with cancer. Let us put an end to cancer as we know it and finally cure some cancers.”
Shortly after, the cameras cut to Bono, who was in the centre of the frame. PEPFAR is well-known for revolutionising life-saving HIV medications in developing countries and saving 25 million lives worldwide.
In addition to his contribution to PEPFAR, Bono is a co-founder of the nonpartisan ONE Campaign, which works with governments to combat poverty and preventable diseases, and Product RED, which has reportedly raised over $700 million from businesses to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Bono’s nationality and early life
Paul David Hewson, better known by his stage name Bono, was born on May 10, 1960, at Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital. He is Irish and does not have citizenship in the United States.
He grew up with his older brother Norman as the second child of Iris and Brendan Robert “Bob” Hewson. His father was a Roman Catholic, and his mother was a member of the Church of Ireland. The musician was raised in an interdenominational Christian home in the northside suburb of Finglas.
According to reports, Bono’s parents decided that their first child would be raised Anglican and their second child Catholic, but despite being their second child, the singer attended Church of Ireland services with his mother and brother. His father, on the other hand, took him to St Canice’s Catholic Church for mass.
Hewson attended Glasnevin National School as a child before transferring to St. Patrick’s Cathedral Grammar School for a year. Soon after, he transferred to Mount Temple Comprehensive School, a multi-denominational school in Clontarf.
In the late 1980s or early 1990s, the musician allegedly paid $15 million for a top-floor duplex apartment in Manhattan’s San Remo apartment building from Steve Jobs. He also owns a number of other luxury properties in the United States and Europe.
According to Virtual Globetrotting, Bono and his wife Alison Hewson live in Killiney, Ireland, in the affluent seaside neighbourhood of Dalkey.