Why these women wore white for Donald Trump's State of the Union speech - and delivered this surprising moment

Democratic members of Congress, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wore white at the State of the Union address Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Democratic women put on a stunning display of solidarity during the State of the Union address on Tuesday – wearing the white colour of the suffragettes.

Paying tribute to the women who came before them, they also gave a nod to their own achievement, as more women than ever are now representatives in the House.

They wore white trouser suits and power dresses, as well as hats, shawls and scarves.

In the chamber, there has long been a growing gender divide as Democrats elect far more women than Republicans.

The House now has more than 100 women in office, but the vast majority of them, about 90, are Democrats. House Republican women number just over a dozen.

During his speech, president Donald Trump noted the number of women in newly created jobs last year, leading to a remarkable moment.

The women in white leaped to their feet and high-fived, pointing at themselves and each other.

Mr Trump, surprised, said: “You weren’t supposed to do that.”

Then, because he knew the part of his speech that was coming next, told them not to sit quite yet, promising: “You’re going to like this.”

The president recounted that a century after the Congress passed the Constitutional amendment “giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in the Congress than ever before”.

More high-fives followed and the women in white, re-purposing a favourite outburst of the men in suits on the other side of the aisle, chanted: “U-S-A!”

“That’s great,” Mr Trump said. “Very great.”

A few of the Democrats’ male colleagues joined the women in white. Many other men wore white ribbons of support.