Democrat women wear white at Donald Trump’s State of the Union address
Posted On July 12, 2020
Democratic women wore white at Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday in support of gender equality as the deep political divisions in Washington DC were on display.
The US president’s political opponents invited transgender soldiers, climate change scientists and undocumented migrants to the address, underscoring their rejection of key parts of his policy agenda.
Mr Trump’s own guests included the family of a woman murdered by an illegal migrant, the manager of a sawmill that recently reopened and a former opioid addict, highlighting his own priorities in office.
The disparity between the guests accentuated the yawning gap between the Republican and Democratic parties that exists while Mr Trump made bipartisanship a major focus of his speech.
The Democrats now control the House of Representatives – the chamber where Mr Trump’s address was due to take place – and can therefore veto any of the president’s proposed legislation.
The 48 hours leading up to the speech highlighted how difficult it will be for both sides to agree on the most divisive issues being debated in US politics.
Lois Frankel, a Florida congresswoman and chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, was leading calls for her party’s female politicians to wear white at the address.
The colour was chosen for its association with the women’s suffrage movement. Some of the party’s congressmen planned to wear white ribbons on their lapels.
Ms Frankel said wearing white would “send a message” that “promoting the economic security of women and their families” would be the party’s focus in the House in the next two years.
The move also hinted at Democrat opposition to Mr Trump’s past controversial comments on women, most notably the 2005 Access Hollywood tape where he boasted of grabbing women in intimate places which surfaced during the 2016 campaign.
On Tuesday morning, the most senior Republican and Democrat in the US Senate also gave assessments of the Trump presidency that laid bare their stark differences.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, touted the “immense progress” achieved since Mr Trump took office, citing the booming US economy.
“It’s been more than two years since the American people hired President Trump and a Republican Congress to get Washington’s foot off the brake of our economy. Since we got to work rebuilding middle class prosperity, it’s been an all-American comeback,” Mr McConnell said.
But Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leader in the Senate, said: “The president will say the state of our union is strong, but the American people know the truth. Unfortunately, it is not.”
He said the American people know Mr Trump’s economy was “failing our middle class” and the US healthcare system was “failing American families”.
Mr Schumer’s speech appeared to rile Mr Trump, who hit back on Twitter just hours before delivering a speech which was meant to play down party differences.
Mr Trump tweeted: “I see Schumer is already criticizing my State of the Union speech, even though he hasn’t seen it yet.
I see Schumer is already criticizing my State of the Union speech, even though he hasn’t seen it yet. He’s just upset that he didn’t win the Senate, after spending a fortune, like he thought he would. Too bad we weren’t given more credit for the Senate win by the media!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2019
“He’s just upset that he didn’t win the Senate, after spending a fortune, like he thought he would. Too bad we weren’t given more credit for the Senate win by the media!”
Mr Schumer responded: “Thanks for watching my speech but you must have missed this line: ‘Even more empty than his policy promises are President Trump’s calls each year for unity’.”
Thanks for watching my speech but you must have missed this line:
“Even more empty than his policy promises are President Trump’s calls each year for unity”#SOTU https://t.co/dtKUKBnNlK