The headline was President Joe Biden’s impending 100th day in office, but perhaps the more momentous event occurred behind him during his first address to a joint session of Congress. For the first time in United States history, Biden was flanked by two women on the dais, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Harris.
“Madam Speaker. Madam Vice President,” said Biden during his opening remarks, addressing Pelosi and Harris directly. “No president has ever said those words from this podium. And it's about time.”
Just minutes before Biden’s speech, in which the president urged Americans to get vaccinated and stated his support on fighting climate change and pushed for tax increases on the top 1 percent of earners, Pelosi and Harris seemed to relish a moment they recognized as historic. Visibly smiling underneath their masks, the two politicians greeted each other with an elbow bump and held hands while members of the press snapped photographs.
Among Biden’s talking points were also plans to expand health care and child care for Americans. He outlined a roadmap for bringing on universal preschool and free community college before quoting his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. “Any country that out-educates us is going to outcompete us,” he said.
Dr. Biden, meanwhile, was not too far away—seated in the wings near Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, the First Lady revisited her inauguration night look, when she donned an ivory cashmere coat and matching dress by Gabriela Hearst for the evening’s virtual festivities back in January. This week, Dr. Biden opted for a navy take on the dress and coat, replete with a matching mask. Like that frock, her upcycled silk wool cady dress on Wednesday night was hand-embroidered with flowers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, plus the American territories abroad.
Harris also stuck to her commitment toward wearing American designers, which began during the inauguration when she wore looks from Christopher John Rogers and Prabal Gurung. The vice president reprised a Prabal Gurung look for the Congressional session, wearing a hand-tailored double crepe cream suit and ivory silk charmeuse camisole by the designer. In a tweet from the brand, Gurung stated the piece was made at the Prabal Gurung atelier in New York City, “and designed for powerful moments in history.”