Lawmakers, officials wear blue and yellow to Biden speech in Ukraine nod

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U.S. President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington

WASHINGTON – As U.S. President Joe Biden spoke about the need to support Ukrainians in their fight against the Russian invasion of their country, lawmakers and officials also showed their support for Ukraine through their attire.

Dozens of lawmakers, including Democratic lawmaker Lori Trahan and Republican congresswoman Victoria Spartz, who is Ukrainian-American and who was born in Ukraine, attended the speech wearing blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

Jill Biden, the first lady, also participated in the fashion diplomacy. She wore an embroidered applique of a sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower, on her dress sleeve in a sign of support for the country’s people, the White House said.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, meanwhile, said in a tweet that she was wearing a scarf – which also had blue and yellow elements – given to her last year by Ukraine’s foreign minister.

Other lawmakers carried miniature Ukrainian flags, at times waving them around to demonstrate support for the president’s remarks.

Even Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, who gave the Republican response to Biden’s address outside her state’s Capitol, got in on the action, sporting a pin that included the Ukrainian flag.

The speech itself was dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Biden assailed Russian President Vladimir Putin, barred Russian flights from American airspace and led Democratic and Republican lawmakers in a rare display of unity.

Fashion at the State of the Union has garnered outsized attention at a president’s annual speech before. In 2019, Democratic women lawmakers wore white to celebrate 100 years of women having the right to vote in the United States.

First-term Republican lawmaker Lauren Boebert, clad entirely in black, issued a different message on Tuesday with her clothes: “Drill Baby Drill” scrawled in gold across a black shawl, urging an increase in U.S. energy production.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Alistair Bell)