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Democratic lawmakers invite sexual assault survivors to State of the Union
Democratic House members will “be bringing survivors of sexual assault and advocates” as their guests to the address, an aide to Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) confirmed to NBC News on Thursday.
“What we want is to really continue the conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace,” Frankel told the Hill.
Frankel will reportedly extend an invitation to a woman involved in the #MeToo campaign as well, though the congresswoman has not finalized her plans. Each member of Congress gets one guest ticket for a gallery seat.
Democrats, however, will not be inviting any of the 19 women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment and assault. NBC News reported that the “discussion” of bringing Trump’s accusers was quickly “killed.” It’s unclear who squelched the idea, but House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) implied she didn’t want to alienate Republican lawmakers who might help Democrats with anti-sexual misconduct legislation in the future.
“It’s not all about Donald Trump,” Pelosi reportedly said at a press conference. “I don’t think that that would be helpful in terms of what we need to do for the American people.”
The news of the invitations to sexual assault survivors comes one day after Democratic California Rep. Jackie Speier announced an invitation members of Congress to wear black to the State of the Union address. The black outfits are meant to show solidarity with #MeToo and Time’s Up, the initiative aiming to strike down gender inequality in the workplace.
Pelosi said in a statement that she and other members of the Democratic Women’s Working Group will wear black to support “the brave women in every industry and every corner of the country who are making their voices heard.”
Kris Seavers is the Evening Editor for the Daily Dot, where she covers breaking news, politics, and LGBTQ issues. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.