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Democratic women members of Congress cheer after President Donald Trump said there are more women in Congress than ever before during his second State of the Union address, February 5, 2019. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Joyful spectacle

Democratic congresswomen cheer, dance and high-five their electoral triumphs during Trump’s State of the Union

By WITW Staff on February 5, 2019

In a buoyant moment of bipartisanship, members of Congress stood and applauded when President Donald Trump highlighted women’s gains during his 2019 State of the Union address.

“No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year,” he said.

In particular, the record number of Democratic women elected to Congress last year — many of whom had claimed seats formerly occupied by Republican men — pointed to themselves, rose from their chairs and began cheering their electoral victories and broader gains for women. “You weren’t supposed to do that,” Trump quipped, as cameras shot to high-profile new additions to Congress, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

“All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before,” he continued, advising them, “Don’t sit yet, you’re going to like this.”

“And exactly one century after the Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.”

By this point, some of the congressional women lawmakers were even dancing and high-fiving, shortly before the entire House burst into clapping and chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A!”

It was a rare accord between the increasingly divided sides of the aisle.

Women ran in record numbers in the 2018 midterms, and a historic number won. In January, 117 women were elected or appointed to Congress.

In the days leading up to the speech, many Democratic women commented that they felt compelled to wear white in protest of the Trump administration’s policies affecting women — from health care and reproductive rights to equal pay.

“I’m sure you know we’re all wearing suffragette white as women,” Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and a chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told reporters on Monday.

The move to wear white was promoted by Representative Lois Frankel, Democrat of Florida, chairwoman of the House Democratic Women’s Working Group, who announced it on Twitter last Wednesday. “We’ll honor all those who came before us & send a message of solidarity that we’re not going back on our hard-earned rights!” she wrote.

Enjoy the extraordinary scene below, as Democrat congresswomen celebrate their record numbers, during the 2019 State of the Union:

Read the full story at Vox.


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