Following past trends, lawmakers used their attire at President Joe Biden’s first State of the Union address to send different political messages to the world.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine nears the one-week mark of violence, it came as no surprise that Biden spent a considerable amount of time focusing on foreign policy and the United States’ response to the crisis in his address.
“We see the unity among leaders of nations,” Biden said, “and a more unified Europe a more unified West. And we see unity among the people who are gathering in cities in large crowds around the world even in Russia to demonstrate their support for Ukraine.”
To show their own unity, many in attendance adorned themselves in blue and yellow or carried small Ukrainian flags to wave during the address. Even the streets of Washington, D.C. had Ukrainian flags lining the way to the Capitol building.
The @Ukraine flag next to an American flag on Pennsylvania Avenue during the #SOTU speech. pic.twitter.com/KDL1kzJH3z
— David Gee (@TheDavidGee) March 2, 2022
Lots of support for Ukraine on the House floor for the #SOTU
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (with an aisle seat) from Toledo among those from both parties wearing the colors of the Ukraine flag. pic.twitter.com/scRp4l8BdN
— Josh Croup 13abc (@JoshCroup) March 2, 2022
Ukraine and #SOTU #StateOfTheUnion …
Blue and yellow colors … and flags pic.twitter.com/87eVsKJvAm
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) March 2, 2022
Wearing blue and yellow – the colors of the Ukrainian flag – at tonight’s State of the Union address to stand in solidarity with #Ukraine. #SOTU 1/2 pic.twitter.com/7WUsbCmAdP
— Grace Meng (@RepGraceMeng) March 2, 2022
The bipartisan display of solidarity had Ukrainian-born Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) in a yellow dress and blue blazer and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) in a bright yellow blazer with a knitted sunflower pin on the lapel, CNN reported. First lady Jill Biden wore a sunflower as well on her blue dress.
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm wore a scarf that was given to her by the Ukrainian foreign minister and was joined by some others wearing Ukrainian-inspired garb.
The style of political expression had been used in the past as a show of protest against then-President Donald Trump and his policies. In 2018, many Democratic congresswomen wore black as part of the “MeToo” movement. Then, in 2020 they wore white as part of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
Democrats had also repeatedly adorned themselves with Kente cloth during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement which was also meant to be a slight against Trump’s policies.
Not everyone was on board with the solidarity of the event as some chose to display their own political messages during the address. Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) wore a red t-shirt with the number “18,000” printed on it to protest Biden’s failure to act on her request for greater clemency.
My State of the Union fit.
18,000. That's how many people whose clemency petitions are sitting in a backlog, waiting for @POTUS's review.
Justice delayed is justice denied. President Biden, we’re urging you: start granting clemency now. pic.twitter.com/ruRsQykPqJ
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) March 2, 2022
“18,000,” Bush wrote. “That’s how many people whose clemency petitions are sitting in a backlog, waiting for @POTUS’s review.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert had a more direct message to the president that targeted the ongoing energy crisis that has only grown worse because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
My friend @laurenboebert at #SOTU
Drill Baby Drill! pic.twitter.com/iW1yV1gju4
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 2, 2022
“DRILL BABY DRILL” was printed on Boebert’s outfit for the address. Boebert, who reportedly spoke up during the speech chanting “Build the Wall,” has been highly outspoken against Biden’s agenda.
It’s not a phrase, it’s a movement! #LGB pic.twitter.com/MpeKAEVfWB
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) November 5, 2021
She also took a moment after the SOTU to point out the hypocrisy of the attendees who changed the way they gathered at the drop of a hat and are no longer practicing social distancing.
The #SOTU is over and so is social distancing.
The political science has been decided… pic.twitter.com/3SPcuOuFJh
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) March 2, 2022
Boebert said, “Political science has won again!”
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