WASHINGTON — Republican House members will be joining Democrats in wearing specific colors to Tuesday night's State of the Union speech to send a message — except their outfits will be a bit more patriotic.
Republican women in the House of Representatives plan to wear red, white and blue to show support for the military.
A female member emailed her colleagues saying it was an idea from a constituent "to show our support for the flag, and the country and the troops and to be a contrast,” Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., told USA TODAY. McSally's office provided the information first to USA TODAY.
McSally was the first female fighter pilot to fight in combat and said that the State of the Union should be a celebration of "the accomplishments of the past and a vision for the future and I think it’s something we should all be honoring and participating and be positive about as opposed to turning it into some sort of partisan spectacle.”
GOP House members have also relayed their plan to female senators and cabinet members who they hope will join in.
Democratic House members plan to wear black in honor of the #metoo movement combatting sexual harassment.
Their outfits are also a not-so-subtle dig at President Trump, who will be giving the address. More than a dozen women have accused the president of sexual harassment, Trump has denied the allegations.
"Of course we honor victims of sexual harassment ... didn't know that's what (Democrats are) saying it was for. I thought it was more about just resisting and being against the president, is really how it's come across," McSally said when USA TODAY asked how members could be both patriotic and honor victims of sexual harassment at the same time.
At least one member of Congress, however, is sending those dual messages.
GOP Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana is wearing a black dress to honor the victims of sexual abuse, but topped the dress with a red jacket to honor the military.
Brooks, the lead House author of a bill to prevent abuses of amateur athletes, appeared with several black-clad former gymnasts at a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday to tout the legislation that responds to a sex abuse scandal in USA Gymnastics uncovered by The Indianapolis Star.
Brooks wanted to recognize the athletes who came forward to share their abuse stories, according to her spokeswoman.