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#MeToo: US Democratic lawmakers urge wearing black to Trump speech

11 January 2018

Some Democratic House members are planning to invite victims of sexual assault to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address later this month to highlight the issue, according to an aide to a lawmaker who has been a prominent voice on sexual misconduct. Last year, female Democrats chose to wear white in support of women's rights, when President Trump spoke to a joint session of Congress for the first time.

The announcement came just days after black dresses ruled the red carpet at Sunday's Golden Globes in a show of solidarity for the movement, which has also deeply affected Hollywood.

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Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier told NBC News that the women of the Democratic Women's Working Group had expressed their support for the initiative and wanted to make a statement. Several members have been forced to resign recently, including senator Al Franken and longtime congressman John Conyers, after being accused of misconduct. The White House has maintained that the women are lying.

The lawmaker, who asked not to be identified, told NBC Democrats would be "no better" than Republicans if they chose to "retaliate" at the State of the Union address.

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Capitol Hill also was inundated late past year with allegations of sexual harassment by lawmakers and senior aides, prompting a debate over how best to hold offenders accountable.

Speier urged on Twitter that members of Congress from both parties join her protest and show "solidarity w/ survivors of sexual harassment/violence in Hollywood, politics, the military, academia, etc".

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Trump, too, is famously implicated in the debate over sexual harassment since facing allegations of misconduct from more than a dozen women during the 2016 election. 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. Spokesmen for Trump have said the claims are false.

#MeToo: US Democratic lawmakers urge wearing black to Trump speech