In this March 30, 2017, photo, the U.S. Capitol dome is seen at dawn in Washington. The crash of the House Republican health care bill may well have transformed an issue the party has long used to bash Democrats into the GOP’s very own political nightmare. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP)

Democratic leaders plan to bring sexual assault survivors to Trump's State of Union address

Yes, #MeToo will have a presence at the State of the Union address


Nicole Karlis
January 12, 2018 12:00PM (UTC)

Following the second annual Women’s March on January 21st, liberal women policy-makers have another protest to attend later in the month: Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address.

An unidentified aide to Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., tells NBC that some Democratic House members will allegedly be bringing sexual assault survivors and advocates as their guests. According to the report, nobody will be bringing any of the women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct though.

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"That was killed," a Democratic congresswoman told NBC of that idea.

When asked directly in an interview with Elle magazine if the Democratic lawmakers were bringing those who accused Trump of sexual misconduct, Frankel said she hadn’t heard of anyone doing that.  Recall that during election season in 2016, Donald Trump organized a news conference—just prior to a debate with Hillary Clinton—with women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct.

But the Democratic leaders don’t want their guest's presence to be all about Trump.

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On Thursday, Rep. Frankel tweeted confirmation that some Democratic women leaders will be wearing black to specifically honor the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. “We're wearing black at #SOTU to say #timesup,” she tweeted. “We stand with working people across this country who are demanding that men and women be able to work side-by-side, in dignity, in safety, and free of harassment.”

She went on to explain more of what the Democratic women want to communicate at the address.

“I think each one of us wants to communicate the message of the Democrats, which is really about a better deal—a better deal for the American public, a better deal in terms of pay, in terms of respect at work, a better deal in terms of support for our families,” Frankel said.

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Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., also confirmed to the Huffington Post that she will be participating in the protest by wearing black, noting that it’s the their way of embracing the “culture change” that’s scouring the nation.

“This is a culture change that is sweeping the country, and Congress is embracing it,” Speier told the Huffington Post.

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The show of solidarity is reminiscent to what we saw at the Golden Globes on January 9, when many women in Hollywood wore black. Some women even brought activists; for instance, Michelle Williams invited Tarana Burke, the founder of #MeToo, as her guest.

Rep. Frankel, who leads the Democratic Women’s Working Group, has organized protests at public events before. In February 2017, Democratic women wrote white, the official color of the suffragette movement, to an address Trump gave to both chambers of Congress.

"We wear white to unite against any attempts by the Trump administration to roll back the incredible progress women have made in the last century, and we will continue to support the advancement of all women," Frankel said in her statement last February.

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Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a news writer at Salon. She covers health, science, tech and gender politics. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

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Donald Trump #metoo Rep. Lois Frankel Sotu State Of The Union #timesup

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