This year’s State of the Union address may feature more black outfits than usual.
A group of female Democratic lawmakers is reportedly planning to wear black to President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, in solidarity with movements protesting sexual harassment and assault in numerous industries.
NBC News first reported the lawmakers’ plan on Twitter, and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) confirmed to HuffPost that she was planning to take part in the action.
“This is a culture change that is sweeping the country, and Congress is embracing it,” Speier, who launched #MeTooCongress in response to a social media movement against sexual harassment, told HuffPost on Tuesday.
The congresswoman said she and other members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group are inviting men and women across the political spectrum to join them in making a statement at the Jan. 30 State of the Union address.
“This is not about Hollywood,” actress Debra Messing said during a red carpet interview before the award show Sunday. “This is about every woman in every industry, globally.”
Amid the outcry against sexual harassment in Hollywood, sparked by revelations about producer Harvey Weinstein, many have pointed out that the president has also been accused of sexually assaulting at least 16 women.
Trump has denied the allegations, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House’s official stance on the sexual assault accusations is that they are all false. In October 2016, Trump also brushed off a now-infamous 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about being able to grab women “by the pussy.” He dismissed his comments as “locker room talk.”
But many women in politics are no longer willing to accept such excuses. A number of female politicians, including Speier, have come forward with their own stories of abuse. They continued to call for accountability among elected officials as allegations against male politicians and candidates, including former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Alabama Republican Roy Moore, emerged in the final months of 2017.
Speier has long fought to make Capitol Hill a safer place for women. In 2014, the California lawmaker introduced legislation mandating anti-harassment training for all House members and staffers. The bill didn’t pass. But in November, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced in the wake of harassment allegations against politicians that members of the House of Representatives and staff will have to undergo mandatory training on sexual harassment.