On the evening of January 30th, 2018, Donald Trump gave his first State of the Union address at the United States Capitol. His speech, which emphasized an “America First” mindset and attempted to unite Democrats and Republicans with this rhetoric, was met with boisterous applause from the right and silence from the left. The starkest difference between Democrats’ and Republicans’ reaction to Trump’s speech, however, was their dress: Democratic lawmakers, male and female, wore all-black clothing affixed with Time’s Up pins, as well as pins reading “RECY” in honor of the late Recy Taylor, a sexual assault survivor who has become an icon for the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
Their sartorial statement was a strong one, considering the numerous sexual harassment and assault allegations against Trump—and Republicans’ refusal to condemn him for his actions.
Trump’s State of the Union unsurprisingly failed to address the climate surrounding sexual misconduct, as well as other hot topic issues such as gun control and reproductive rights. Instead, he focused on touting his political achievements from the past year, citing the creation of “2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone,” African-American unemployment standing “at the lowest rate ever recorded” and his new tax plan. He also addressed immigration, an issue that Democrats and Republicans have been firmly divided on, contributing to the government shutdown earlier this month. Trump slyly incorporated incidences of crime and terrorism in his comments on immigration, suggesting that stifling immigration will reduce violence. “In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programs present risks we can no longer afford…Our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country — and it finally ends the dangerous practice of ‘catch and release,” he said.