As President Trump Delivered His Address to Congress, Women Democrat Members Wear White to Send Message

Members of the Women's Democrat Caucus


By Guy-Lee King
of Medill News Service

WASHINGTON – Illinois’ three female members of Congress joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday among the women in white at President Donald Trump’s Address to Congress as a visual reminder, that they intend to pressure the Trump administration to support women’s issues such as equal pay.


As Pelosi tweet, the Democratic congresswomen support women’s rights “in spite of a POTUS who doesn’t.”


The Democrats chose white to honor the women’s suffrage movement, whose members wore white to demonstrate purity. Hillary Clinton also regularly wore white during the presidential campaign. 


Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., said she “was proud to wear white with my Democratic women colleagues as a reminder to President Trump that the women of America are watching him closely.”


“We’re not going to stop fighting for issues like equal pay, paid family leave or affordable child care, because these are issues that don’t just impact women,” Bustos said. “They’re also necessary for working families across our country.” 


In his speech, President Trump said he plans to “invest in women’s health,” including paid family leave, which is an issue Democrats have long wanted. However, the President has repeatedly said he would work with Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, which most Democrats would oppose.  


Trump’s “less-than-stellar record with women” has fueled Democrats to “keep the pressure on the Trump administration to deliver, Bustos said.


The Democrats decision to convey their disapproval by wearing white was based on what they say is the President’s  policies and political rhetoric that are, deeply troubling to millions of women across the country,” according to Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill.


Our decision to wear white is two-fold,” Kelly said. “During Women’s History Month, it pays homage as a symbol of the women’s suffrage movement. Also, as the president stood before us, it stood out as a symbol to the president and nation that we – the women in white – are here in Congress to work doggedly and fight tirelessly for true and lasting equality.”


In addition to supporting paid family leave, he also noted a women’s entrepreneurship partnership between the U.S. and Canada that he created.


In his first days in office, President Trump signed an Executive Order reinstating President Ronald Reagan’s rule blocking foreign aid for organizations that perform or fund abortions.