Donald Trump’s much-anticipated State of the Union speech on Tuesday night featured one special moment that the president could not have expected.
When he mentioned the successes enjoyed by women, both in politics and in the country, the majority of female Congress members rose to their feet and cheered animatedly. As soon as Trump began by saying “No one has benefitted more from our thriving economy than women,” female lawmakers of the 116th Congress – which enjoys a record-breaking number of female members this year – put on a loud standing ovation in celebration for their achievements.
According to Business Insider, the Democrat legislators, who wore white as a tribute to the suffragettes, got up and started clapping effusively, while Donald Trump joked, “You weren’t supposed to do that.” And to his surprise, that wasn’t the only time the attention drifted from himself at the podium to the group of female members in Congress, as they rose yet again when he stated that the number of women in the workforce is at an all-time high.
The president then seemed to enjoy the cheerful moment, as he laughed and said “Don’t sit yet, you’re going to like this,” before noting that there are more women serving in Congress than ever. This led to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was sitting behind him, to rise to her feet and encourage other lawmakers to join her, a move that ended up in “U.S.A.” chants and plenty of high-fiving among Congress members, as well as Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s daughter Ivanka, who were also seen standing up and clapping along.
Trump then waited for the celebratory moment to end, before saying, “That’s great. Really great. And congratulations, that’s great.”
However, some Democrats claimed that Trump “really didn’t realize what was going on,” as one of the main reasons why they were cheering was to “draw attention to the contrast of our caucus, that reflects the diversity of the American people,” said Rep. Ann Kuster of New Hampshire later on.
Pelosi also pointed out afterward that the U.S. president had failed to acknowledge that the majority of female Congress members are actually from the Democratic party.
“He forgot to acknowledge it’s only 15, what is it, 15 Republicans and 91 Democratic women in the Congress of the United States on the House side,” she said, according to the Hill.
“So it was like weird you’re bringing this up. And I loved the way the women just rose to the occasion,” she added.