Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refuses to join standing ovation for Trump at State of the Union address

Youngest congresswoman stayed in her seat

Andrew Buncombe
Wednesday 06 February 2019 11:20 GMT
State of the Union: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez refuses to stand after Trump's call for unity

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – dressed in white in an act of solidarity with other women – declined to join a standing ovation for Donald Trump despite his purported call for “unity”.

Mr Trump began his State of the Union address by claiming he wanted to work with the new Congress, including the Democratically-controlled House, in remarks that saw many members of the two chambers stand and applause – among them a number of Democrats, including speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I stand here ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans. Millions of our fellow citizens are watching us now, gathered in this great chamber, hoping that we will govern not as two parties but as one nation,” said Mr Trump.

“The agenda I will lay out this evening is not a Republican agenda or a Democrat agenda. It is the agenda of the American people.”

But commentators were quick to spot that a number of Democrats, especially a group of women politicians wearing white, did not join in the standing ovation. Among them were Ms Ocasio-Cortez, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Pramila Jayapal.

“Some Dems like AOC did not stand for Melania Trump as others gave her a standing ovation,” tweeted CNN’s congressional reporter, Manu Raju.

Ahead of Mr Trump’s speech, the 29-year-old Democrat, one of the most progressive new members of the new congress, told the network she was wearing white because “there’s so much more that we have to fight for”.

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“2019 is the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote....and there’s so much more that we have to fight for,” she said.

”From wage equality, to paycheck fairness, to protecting ourselves and believing survivors.”

The Hill reported that last week, the House Democratic women’s working group urged female members from both parties to wear white to the event in homage to the suffragette movement.

Among those who accepted the invitation was Mr Trump’s 25-year-old daughter, Tiffany, who also wore all white for the event.

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