This Tuesday, President Donald Trump will be delivering his annual State of the Union address, marking yet another opportunity for him to push his angry rhetoric — and another opportunity for Democrats to push back. Hours before the president assumed the podium to address a joint session of Congress — with the nation watching — dozens of members of the House Democratic Caucus showed up dressed in all white in symbolic solidarity with both those who fought for women’s right to vote and those who fight for increased women’s rights still today.
Check them out:
— Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) February 5, 2019
House Democratic women pose pre-SOTU in suffragette white pic.twitter.com/YCURcy5gTi
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) February 5, 2019
Although women have long been able to vote, the “#MeToo” movement should make clear that there’s still a long way to go — easily highlighted by the Trump administration itself. Trump has been credibly accused of sexual harassment or assault by numerous women, and while in office, he’s defined himself with anti-abortion measures that completely erase women’s rights from the equation.
In his very first few days in office, he reinstated a version of the “Mexico City Policy” that bars any U.S. funding from going to global health initiatives that either provide abortion services or refer patients to the possibility of obtaining an abortion elsewhere. His administration’s version of the rule went farther than previous versions, placing the restriction on recipients of U.S. aid not just for family planning but also for maternal and child health, nutrition, and treatment of diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. That set up global reproductive health to either fall back significantly because either the abortion option or funding disappear.
That doesn’t even cover the sexist nonsense Trump has peddled on his own time, decrying his female opponents as “nasty” and willing to “do anything.”
Ironically, the target of that latter smear — New York’s Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand — is now running for president and could, in theory, be the one to unseat Donald Trump come 2020.
This Tuesday, Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.), who was among those who wore all white and helps lead the Democratic Women’s Working Group, offered at a press conference:
‘Today we stand together wearing white in solidarity with the women of the suffrage movement who refused to take no for an answer… To an administration that has closed its eyes to women, we will be seen.’
Democratic men joined their female colleagues. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) distributed white ribbons for male Democratic caucus members to wear during the State of the Union, and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) even showed up in a white suit.
— Rebecca Kaplan (@RebeccaRKaplan) February 5, 2019
As for what the actual content of the president’s speech will be — The New York Times shares that Trump has complained in recent days that initial drafts of the address were too soft on Democrats, which certainly matches his public behavior.
The morning before his address, he whined on Twitter:
‘I see [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] 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.’
In other words — as long as Trump’s in office, we’re set for this partisan back-and-forth.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot