There were a lot of key moments during President Donald Trump's second State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 5. But he lost the spotlight momentarily to a white-clad female contingency in the audience. The group of Democratic women of Congress stood during the 2019 State of the Union in what became an epic moment that immediately went viral on social media.
The group of Democratic congresswomen were all dressed in white this year to honor the suffragettes and send a message of promoting gender equality.
"Today we stand together wearing white in solidarity with the women of the suffrage movement who refused to take no for an answer," said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, according to The Cut. "To an administration that has closed its eyes to women, we will be seen."
And seen they were. They had a moment of sheer glory on Tuesday, when Trump announced that there were more women serving in Congress than ever before, as well as serving in the U.S. workforce. The sea of women in white all began to stand up and cheer, while the audience started to chant, "U-S-A!" Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, seated behind Trump, pointed at her colleagues in the audience and cheered.
The president joked back at them that they weren't supposed to be cheering during his speech. It was a moment of unexpected brevity in what's been a highly divided government with the president and Democratic party largely at odds.
But many pointed out that it was because of Trump that so many Democratic women had run for office and been elected in the 2018 midterm elections at all.
"He is literally the reason there are more Dem women in Congress. His presidency is what prompted these women - many of whom were never involved in politics - to run for office," tweeted Cook Political Report editor Amy Walter.
"Trump deserves credit for the influx of women to Congress. They all ran to oppose him," wrote Deep State Radio host David Rothkopf.
And they have a point: There was a record-breaking number of women elected to Congress this year, and the vast majority of them were Democrats. Notably, many were also first-time candidates.
It wasn't the first time Democratic women in the House chose to wear white for Trump's joint address to Congress. In 2017, they also wore monochromatic white, while first lady Melania Trump wore black. This year was no different: Trump stood out wearing head-to-toe black while the women on the chamber floor shone in white. And this year, they were sending a message to the president that the fight for gender rights was far from over.
"With more women in Congress than ever, we're wearing suffragette white to the #SOTU to remind Trump that we will not let our hard-earned rights be rolled back or undermined," wrote Rep. Judy Chu in a tweet ahead of the event.
"There's so much more that we have to fight for: from wage equality to paycheck fairness to protecting ourselves and believing survivors," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told CNN before the start of the speech. "I think that this is a really amazing opportunity."
And it looks like the collective fashion statement worked out pretty well for the (newly elected) Democratic women in the House.