In a meeting with more than a dozen members of Congress Wednesday, President Trump brought up the looming crisis of the separation of immigrant families at the border. (opens in new tab) "Those images affect everybody," the president said of the viral photos of screaming children (opens in new tab) being torn from their families. Here's what else affects everybody: The hegemony of white, middle-aged men on the Hill, an issue perfectly illustrated by journalist Mike Knoller's photograph of Trump's meeting.
CBS correspondent Mark Knoller tweeted the image of the nearly two dozen politicians—none of whom appear to be women or people of color—sitting alongside Trump as the president discussed immigration. "We are keeping families together, but we have to keep our borders strong," the president declared, according to Knoller, (opens in new tab) surrounded completely by middle-aged white men.
It's not the first photograph taken of an all-white, all-male White House meeting—remember that infamous photo of two dozen men (opens in new tab) deciding the future of women's health care?—but immigration is an issue that disproportionately affects women and children. For example, the forced separation of families at the border leaves women of all ages especially vulnerable to sexual assault, as several experts have warned.
A close reading of the photo shows exactly one woman in the very background of the photo, and she appears to be a reporter, not a politician.
"We are keeping families together but we have to keep our borders strong. We will be overrun with crime and people that should not be in our country," the Pres told meeting with members of Congress. Said he'll sign order on families, before leaving for Minnesota this afternoon. pic.twitter.com/UztrFdqR9vJune 20, 2018
Other photos of the meeting reveal that Ivanka seems to have been present—and standing near the meeting, but not at the table.
Much like Knoller's photo, this is a telling image. Ivanka, who supposedly identifies as a moderate (opens in new tab) and has pledged to support women and children (opens in new tab) as a White House staffer, serves as senior advisor to the president. Yet, she isn't sitting at the table. This photo of her silently standing in the background is a powerful reminder of her silence on the border issue.
But back to Knoller's photo. Certainly, the halls of Congress have always been almost entirely white and male. Yet, efforts to diversify the country's leadership—efforts that have been partially successful, at least when you look at the racial demographics of those running for office this year (opens in new tab)–seem to be all but ignored by this administration. In this photo, the assembled group of politicians are just as white, male, and middle-aged as the politicians two hundred years ago.
On the bright side, everyone in this picture looks blissfully ignorant of the small army of women and individuals of color working to usurp them (opens in new tab)—and there are only five months left until November.
Jenny is the Director of Content Strategy at Marie Claire. Originally from London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and never left. Prior to Marie Claire, she spent five years at Bustle building out its news and politics coverage. She loves, in order: her dog, goldfish crackers, and arguing about why umbrellas are fundamentally useless. Her first novel, EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, will be published by Minotaur Books in 2024.
James Middleton Reveals That Sister Kate Went to Therapy with Him
The third Middleton child, Pippa, also attended therapy to support her brother.
By Rachel Burchfield
Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis Are Banned from Doing This at Home
It’s a non-negotiable in the Wales’ house.
By Rachel Burchfield
Princess Diana’s Personal Letters to Friends During Her Divorce Are Being Auctioned for Charity
The 32-letter collection is both “astonishing” and “confidential.”
By Rachel Burchfield
35 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men
If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, show them these statistics.
By Brooke Knappenberger
How New York's First Female Governor Plans to Fight for Women If Reelected
Kathy Hochul twice came to power because men resigned amid sexual harassment scandals. Here, how she's leading differently.
By Emily Tisch Sussman
Why the 2022 Midterm Elections Are So Critical
As we blaze through a highly charged midterm election season, Swing Left Executive Director Yasmin Radjy highlights rising stars who are fighting for women’s rights.
By Tanya Benedicto Klich
Tammy Duckworth: 'I’m Mad as Hell' About the Lack of Federal Action on Gun Safety
The Illinois Senator won't let the memory of the Highland Park shooting just fade away.
By Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Roe Is Gone. We Have to Keep Fighting.
Democracy always offers a path forward even when we feel thrust into the past.
By Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, hosts of Pantsuit Politics Podcast
The Supreme Court's Mississippi Abortion Rights Case: What to Know
The case could threaten Roe v. Wade.
By Megan DiTrolio
Sex Trafficking Victims Are Being Punished. A New Law Could Change That.
Victims of sexual abuse are quietly criminalized. Sara's Law protects kids that fight back.
By Dr. Devin J. Buckley and Erin Regan
My Family and I Live in Navajo Nation. We Don't Have Access to Clean Running Water
"They say that the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Why are citizens still living with no access to clean water?"
By Amanda L. As Told To Rachel Epstein