President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he intends to pardon the famous suffragist Susan B. Anthony, a century after women won the right to vote in the United States and 114 years after Anthony died.
“She was never pardoned. Did you know that? She was never pardoned?” Trump said at a White House ceremony Tuesday, to scattered laughter and applause. “She was never pardoned. And we’re for voting. That’s right, she was guilty for voting. And we’re going to be signing a full and complete pardon, and I think that’s really fantastic.”
Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment, which secured women the right to vote.
But Anthony — who faced a fine for illegally voting as a woman in 1872 — isn’t exactly universally beloved. In her attempts to secure suffrage for white women, Anthony and her fellow activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton frequently relied on racist rhetoric. Anthony protested vehemently against the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed equal protections for Black people but also specified that only “male citizens” had the right to vote, a first in the Constitution.
“I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work for or demand the ballot for the Negro and not for the woman,” Anthony said.
Today, Anthony is frequently revered as an icon among anti-abortion activists. She’s the namesake of the powerful anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List, which pledged $52 million to reelecting Trump and anti-abortion Senate candidates at the beginning of this year.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, stood by Trump’s side during his Tuesday announcement.
Trump’s sudden support of Anthony and women’s suffrage arrives as the president faces a glaring gender gap in the November election. Recent national polling averages show a 23-point gender gap between Vice President Joe Biden.
Cover: An undated sketch drawing of suffragette Susan B. Anthony (AP Photo); President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)