A number of women in Congress are planning to wear black to the State of the Union later this month as a show of support for women affected by sexual misconduct.
The show of support echoes actresses who wore black to last Sunday’s Golden Globesto support the Me Too and Time’s Up movements.
NBC News was first to report Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., was calling for lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to dress in black. President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address on Jan. 30.
The movement is being championed by the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which includes all female Democratic members of the House of Representatives.
The vast majority of women attending Sunday’s Golden Globes wore black as a statement against sexual misconduct allegations which swept Hollywood in the wake of revelations about ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
“This is just the beginning,” said actress Rachel Brosnahan, who won a Golden Globe for the Amazon series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” of the Time’s Up campaign. “Part of the Time’s Up campaign is that they’ve created a legal defense fund. … This is only the beginning of the conversation that’s being turned into action.”
The movement quickly spread across all industries, including politics. A number of prominent politicians have resigned or retired in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.
Former Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., stepped down in December after multiple women alleged sexual misconduct by the politician. Franken has apologized for some of his conduct, though he said other allegations “were simply untrue” in his Dec. 7 resignation speech from the floor of the Senate.
Karena Virginia (R) speaks at a press conference where she identifies herself as victim of sexual misconduct by Donald Trump at The London Hotel, Oct. 20, 2016, in New York.
Former Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announced days before Franken that he would be retiring after facing allegations as well. Conyers denied the allegations, and said he would retire “to preserve my legacy and good name.” Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, announced he would not run for re-election after his current term after news broke the congressman had paid $84,000 to settle a sexual harassment case against him.
Farenthold said that previous allegations of sexual harassment made against him were “false,” but acknowledged he had “angry outbursts” and that he failed “to treat people in his office with the respect they deserve.”
Speier, as recently as Tuesday, tweeted about the settlement, saying Farenthold should keep his promise to pay that money back.
I hope @farenthold keeps his promise to payback the $83,000 in taxpayer funds used to cover his #harassment settlement. Taxpayers should NEVER foot the bill when Members of Congress can’t keep their hands to themselves.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) January 9, 2018
Trump has his own history of sexual misconduct allegations. More than a dozen women accused the president of sexual harassment and assault in the years before he was president. Trump and the White House have denied the allegations.
In December, over 100 congressional Democrats called on the House Oversight Committee to investigate allegations against Trump. House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said his committee “does not, and cannot, prosecute crimes,” and deferred to law enforcement personnel to handle the women’s claims.