The women -- the largest class ever elected to Congress -- chose the color of the suffragette movement to symbolize their unity in fighting for women’s rights, reproductive health care and voting equality.
“The reason that you're going to see the women wearing white is because we know there are a lot of anxious people out there who could be watching this, especially women, and we want them to know that there are people fighting back, and they will see it very clearly from us,” said Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.
The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the constitutional right to vote. The work is far from over and the next huge battle is enshrining the Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution, the congresswomen say.
“The Democratic women stand together wearing suffrage white in solidarity for all women who struggled during the suffrage movement and refused to take no as an answer,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich.
In a press conference before the address, the women blasted Trump for “immoral” policies they say hurt women and pledged to continue to stand for women on issues such as abortion, access to health care and equal pay.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., didn’t join her colleagues and instead will be boycotting the State of the Union because she said she doesn’t want to "legitimize" Trump. Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., also sat out in protest of the president.
But the women clad in white blazers and green “ERA YES” pins say they chose to attend his State of the Union to send a message to women across America that they have their back.
“These past three years have been a profile in courage, not for the occupant of the White House, but for the brave women who have resisted and persisted despite blatant, and misogynistic attacks by this administration against our fundamental rights,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.
“When someone tells you who they are, you better believe them. And the words directed at women from this president are dripping with disdain and disrespect. 'Lock her up. Wackjob, send her back, nasty woman, low IQ. You did a good job on her. Take her out.' It's as if the mob boss running our country relishes the opportunity to publicly humiliate any woman who fights back, who speaks up or takes up space,” Speier continued.
“Mr. President, we're done being second-class citizens in our own country,” Speier added.
The Democrat women's caucus wore white at Trump's 2019 State of the Union, too, but shifted to black and dark colors for the day they voted to impeach him.