Author and pundit Wayne Allyn Root will deliver the Tea Party response to the State of the Union next week, eschewing the Tea Party Express's tradition of inviting a well-known politician in favor of a political outsider.

"2016 has become the year of the outsider as the public continues to show strong support in the presidential contest for candidates that eschew connections with the Washington establish.  So it is appropriate for the Tea Party Express to select a Washington 'outsider' who has had a remarkable career," the group's co-founder, Sal Russo, said in a statement. 

"[Root] is a perfect representative of the Tea Party and is always an articulate spokesperson for a positive agenda for our country’s future."
 
Root is best known as the author of books such as "The Ultimate Obama Survival Guide" and is frequent guest on Fox News programs. He briefly left the Republican Party and ran as the Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee in 2008 before returning to the party ahead of the 2012 presidential election. 
 
He also graduated from Columbia University the same year as President Obama. 
 
The speaking slot, after both the president's address and the official GOP response, is typically reserved for a lawmaker or politician. Rep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) gave the address last year, and previous speakers include Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeTop antitrust senators call for Sessions to scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner merger Public lands dispute costs Utah a major trade show GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget MORE (R-Utah) and Rand PaulRand PaulTrump’s feud with the press in the spotlight Rand Paul: We’re very lucky John McCain’s not in charge Rand Paul: John Bolton would be a 'bad choice' for national security adviser MORE (R-Ky.), as well as 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain.