Pelosi’s flight to Taiwan makes history on Flightradar24 1:09 (CNN) — Nancy Pelosi’s plane may have landed in Taiwan in the gloom of night, but her arrival was, in all other respects, orchestrated to be visible. As she stepped off the plane onto the tarmac at Taipei’s Songshan airport on Tuesday, the US House Speaker shone in the dark in a pink pantsuit. Amidst a sea of blacks and grays (despite her Democrat colleague Mark Takano’s pale blue), her outfit reflected that this was no time to be underestimated. Wearing a pink suit, Nancy Pelosi meets with Malaysian Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun during his recent visit to Malaysia. (Credit: Famer Rohen/Malaysia Department of Information/Reuters) It wasn’t just about standing out on camera, though. Pelosi’s Suit in Taiwan Was Symbolic Pelosi’s controversial trip to Taiwan was itself symbolic. And if her goal was to underscore America’s commitment to a democracy that she herself described ––in some ways similar to her outfit –– as “vibrant,” then wearing pink was also a form of communication. politics. Pelosi did not change her wardrobe during the flight. Earlier in the day, she wore the same outfit with heels and a pearl necklace (the glamorous but inconspicuous fashion accessory for American politicians) while visiting the Malaysian Parliament. And this makes her decision to arrive in Taiwan dressed in pink no less deliberate. Confident, powerful but nonthreatening, the pink seemed to frame her presence as an act of friendship toward Taiwan, not belligerence toward China, which accused her of “knowingly and maliciously” creating a crisis. What commentators are really trying to figure out is whether Pelosi meant to intentionally wink at another political figure very fond of America’s pantsuits: Hillary Clinton. In 1995, the then first lady herself wore remarkably similar attire to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, where she declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” Like Pelosi’s trip, Clinton’s speech was somewhat controversial. During her statement, she detailed the threats women face around the world — including China — and mildly criticized her host’s intolerance of dissent. Hillary Clinton, wearing a pink suit, speaks in Beijing in 1995 at the UN Fourth World Conference. (Credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images) The moment was, as expected if ironically, censored by Beijing. And if Pelosi intended to evoke a historical memory, then Clinton openly criticizing China on mainland soil would surely be a subtle provocation. The power of clothes But we will probably never know. As with many female leaders, Pelosi rarely considers questions about her style choices. While there’s no question the House Speaker appreciates, and regularly harnesses, the power of clothing, from matching face masks and “power bandanas” to the suffragette white she and others wore to protest the State of the Union of then-President Donald Trump in 2020. Alongside numerous Democratic congresswomen, Pelosi also wore white to Trump’s joint address to Congress in 2017, while her red Max Mara “fire coat” spoke for her long before of his infamous confrontation with the former president a year later. There was the hot pink suit she wore on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the one she wore (with pink heels) to the last official photo of the House committee chairmen, and the fuchsia dress she chose to swear in Congress, which featured a record 127 women. She can even be seen wearing a pink coat in her Twitter profile picture. Hillary Clinton wears a pink suit in 1995, during an exhibit opening at the White House. (Credit: Joyce Naltchayan/AFP/Getty Images) In each case, the garment exuded girl power. Just as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez applied red lipstick as “war paint” and Kamala Harris dressed all in white for her acceptance speech as America’s first female vice president, Pelosi treats her choice of outfit as another rope to her political arc. One can read too much into the wardrobes of politicians. In fact, it may have been no more than a coincidence that Tsai Chi-chang, the deputy speaker of Taiwan’s legislature, appeared to respond to Pelosi’s demand by wearing a pink tie to meet with her on Wednesday morning. But the clothes do have symbolism, and if the roars of approval on social media are anything to go by, the message behind Pelosi’s pink suit was heard in Taipei, Beijing and beyond.
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