Southern hospitality was on full display at Tuesday’s State of the Union speech, where Willie Robertson, a star of the popular A&E reality show "Duck Dynasty," attended in all his bearded, bandannaed glory, posing for photo ops with a bevy of politicians from across the south.
The 41-year-old Robertson came as the guest of Republican Louisiana Rep. Vance McAllister. Robertson and his controversial father, Phil, supported McAllister’s successful bid last year to win the seat vacated by the early retirement of former Rep. Rodney Alexander.
On Tuesday afternoon, McAllister teased Robertson’s appearance at the speech via Twitter, saying:
He later said in a statement that "Willie is thankful for this opportunity
and honored to attend. I look forward to the two of us representing the Fifth District in DC this evening and bringing some diversity to our nation's capitol," according to the New York Daily News.
The Twitter sphere lit up Tuesday evening as various GOP members from Southern states blasted pictures of themselves with Robertson. Robertson’s wife, Korie, also attended as the guest of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
"I stand with Duck Dynasty!" Texas Rep. Steve Stockman tweeted at one point.
Graham joined the tweeting as well, saying he was proud to provide his guest ticket to Korie Robertson.
Last month, A&E briefly suspended Phil Robertson, the family patriarch, following controversial remarks he made to a GQ magazine reporter. When asked during an interview about what things Robertson, a devout Christian, considered sinful, he responded: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
Duck Dynasty fans flocked to support Robertson, and the network reversed the suspension in fairly short order, choosing to keep the money-making show alive.
"At the end of the day, entertainment is big business and clearly A&E decided 'this too shall pass
,'" industry insider Ronn Torossian told Fox at the time.
The elder Robertson never apologized for his views, but insisted that he was "a lover of humanity, not a hater."
In addition to their reality show success, the Robertson family has a lucrative merchandizing company
in West Monroe, La. called Duck Commander that sells duck callers and hunting gear. It has an estimated worth of $400 million, according to The National Review.
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