Several Democratic female lawmakers cheered President Donald Trump for celebrating the amount of women serving in Congress in an unexpected moment that led to chants of “U-S-A!” on the House floor.
The moment came just after the Democratic caucus erupted in cheers at Trump touting growth in female employment numbers. Female Democratic lawmakers were seen pointing to themselves and the Democrats in the chamber turned toward the newly elected members of Congress to cheer them as symbols of this female job growth.
“No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year,” Trump said.
Several female lawmakers – many dressed in the white of the Suffragettes as a symbol of solidarity – began to stand up and applaud, including Democratic freshmen Reps. Elissa Slotkin, Chrissy Houlahan, Mary Gay Scanlon and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“You weren’t supposed to do that,” Trump joked, as Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib smiled and clapped.
“All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before,” Trump said to more bipartisan applause.
Trump also directly addressed the record-breaking number of women, mostly Democrats, who were elected in November’s midterm election.
“Don’t sit yet, you’re going to like this – and exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before,” pointing and smiling at the large group of female Democratic representatives, who began their own chant of “U-S-A.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi extended arms toward them from her seat behind Trump, and Ivanka Trump, who has championed her support for women in the workforce, was among those clapping.
As the applause subsided, the President congratulated the newcomers on their election.
“That’s great, really great,” Trump said. “And congratulations, that’s great.”
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who’s exploring a presidential bid, said on Twitter after the speech that she was cheering for her colleagues serving their first term in Congress after defeating Republicans.
“President Trump seems not to understand that the female jobs he created were Democratic women in Congress,” she tweeted.
Tlaib – a freshman Democrat wearing white who previously called to “impeach the motherf******” – said that Trump recognizing the historic number of women serving in Congress was the highlight of the night because it was “very truthful.”
“We not only look differently, we serve differently and we’re from all different communities,” Tlaib said, adding, “It felt amazing at that moment to look at each other and see a sea of white looking back at us and we were very proud that it was our side of the aisle that was able to do that.”
CNN’s Liz Landers contributed to this story.