Trump offers pardon to Susan B. Anthony

President Trump said Tuesday he would grant a full pardon posthumously to Susan B. Anthony, a famed women’s rights advocate who played a critical role in the women’s suffrage movement.

Trump made the announcement during a ceremony Tuesday morning celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the United States.

Anthony was found guilty in 1873 by a completely male jury for having illegally voted in the November 1872 presidential election and was fined $100.

“Later today, I will be signing a full and complete pardon for Susan B. Anthony,” Trump said at the conclusion of brief remarks at the White House, expressing awe that Anthony was never pardoned. “She was never pardoned. What took so long?”

The pardon for Anthony, who died in 1906, comes as Trump finds himself trailing presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in polls and facing a significant deficit with women. Trump has been frequently criticized for derogatory remarks about women while in office. In October 2016, while running for president, a video of him talking with an “Access Hollywood” host about grabbing women by the genitals created a major scandal.

Trump won the election over Democrat Hillary Clinton weeks later, however, and his supporters say his tough talk with female political opponents is matched by his tough talk toward men. 

At the event on Tuesday, Trump signed a proclamation recognizing the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and briefly reflected on the history of the women’s suffrage movement.

“It was a monumental victory for equality, for justice, and a monumental victory for America,” Trump said.

“Women dominate the United States. I think we can say that very strongly,” Trump continued, noting that 131 women now serve in Congress, almost 70 million women vote in elections, more than half of the country’s college students are women and millions of women own small businesses.

Trump was joined at the event by first lady Melania Trump, Small Business Administrator Jovita Carranza, former Interior Department Assistant Secretary Susan Combs and a number of external participants, including Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser and Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James.

Trump has overtly sought to court suburban female voters in recent weeks as he finds himself trailing Biden in the polls by highlighting his work to dismantle an Obama-era fair housing rule, though it’s unclear whether his tactics will work.

Last week, he tweeted that his decision to scrap the rule, which was meant to eliminate racial discrimination, would garner support from the “suburban housewife” afraid of living near low-income housing projects. Trump has also claimed that Biden would reinstate the rule and “abolish the suburbs.”

“I think suburban women very much appreciate what I did. I terminated it,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, referring to the fair housing rule. He also repeated his assertion that Biden would involve Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who is black, in an effort to reinstate the rule.

A CNN poll released Monday showing a tightening race between Trump and Biden also found that 59 percent of women say they would vote for Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), while only 36 percent would vote for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence if the presidential election were held today.

—This report was updated at 1:32 p.m.

Tags Cory Booker Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Melania Trump Mike Pence presidential pardons Susan B. Anthony women's suffrage
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