Rep. Bob Dold, R-Illinois, had invited Durrell McBride as his guest to the President's final State of the Union to highlight his work on criminal justice reform. The former felon was recommended to Dold by a local development group, YouthBuild Lake County, which had given McBride the award of Alumni of the Year.
But after Dold announced the guest, the Chicago Tribune uncovered
court records that in 2014, a woman identified as McBride's wife obtained an order of protection against him after what she described as dozens of text messages that included threats to kill her.
The woman accused McBride of being "very verbally abusive," according to the Tribune. The order was obtained in April 2014 and later canceled after the woman said she no longer felt that her life was in danger.
Dold rescinded the invitation on Thursday and said he would be inviting another graduate of the YouthBuild program to join him.
"Congressman Dold has a long history of efforts to prevent domestic abuse, including his Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, and does not tolerate violence against women of any kind," Dold's spokesman Brad Stewart said in a statement. "Neither Congressman Dold nor YouthBuild Lake County were aware that, after graduating from the program and while interning at YouthBuild, Mr. McBride had a restraining order taken out against him by his now ex-wife."
Stewart said Dold uninvited McBride "immediately" after learning of the allegations.
"We sincerely hope that this unfortunate circumstance does not distract from the important work that Congressman Dold continues to do toward reducing poverty in Lake County," YouthBuild Lake County Executive Director Laurel Tustison said in a statement.
It is customary for lawmakers to invite guests to the annual presidential address to highlight special areas of focus for their offices. The President also invites guests that highlight key initiatives, and customarily makes reference to them during his speech.