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Lawmakers wear blue and yellow to support Ukraine at State of the Union speech

President Biden speaks to lawmakers after delivering his State of the Union address on March 1. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Bloomberg News)
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Several lawmakers wore blue and yellow outfits and accessories Tuesday during President Biden’s State of the Union address in a show of support for Ukraine, whose flag features horizontal blue and yellow bands.

While the address is typically an opportunity for presidents to lay out their priorities for the country, this year’s speech was also heavily focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the U.S.-led response. It’s an issue that has exacerbated partisan divides, with many Republican lawmakers criticizing Biden for not imposing sanctions on Moscow earlier or calling him weak. At the same time, the GOP hasn’t provided a coherent party position on how to counter Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

On Ukraine, Republicans are united on criticizing Biden but not on how to counter Russian threat

Fashion is often used to deliver political messages during the annual State of the Union address. In 2018, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other Democratic lawmakers wore black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement. In 2019 and 2020, Democrats wore white in an homage to the suffragists who fought for women’s right to vote.

On Tuesday night, bipartisan support for Ukraine shone through, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle sporting yellow and blue and clapping loudly for Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, whom Biden recognized early in his address.

Inside the House chamber: Support for Ukraine and an eagerness to move past the pandemic

Several female lawmakers wore bright blue suits with yellow details to the address, while others wore blue and yellow scarves. Many more lawmakers and aides were spotted carrying Ukrainian flags.

Ukrainian flag pins, ribbons and stickers were also handed to guests before Biden’s speech.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wore a yellow and blue flag tucked into his jacket pocket, while Pelosi wore a bright blue suit with a pin featuring the American and Ukrainian flags, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) wore a yellow tie.

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), the Ukrainian American lawmaker who has been one of the leading voices in the GOP on the crisis, wore a yellow dress and a blue blazer.

Biden wanted to use the State of the Union for his agenda. Then Russia started a land war.

First lady Jill Biden wore a blue dress that featured a sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower, on one of the sleeves.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Twitter that she wore a scarf given to her last year by Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba.

Paul Kane contributed to this report.