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Anthony was arrested in 1872 for the crime of voting as a woman 

By Ally Mauch
August 18, 2020 12:32 PM
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Donald Trump at the White House
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he will be posthumously pardoning women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony.

Anthony was arrested in 1872 for the crime of voting as a woman in Rochester, New York. She was found guilty and fined $100, but never paid the fee.

“She was never pardoned. What took so long?” Trump said Tuesday at an event on the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment, as several female supporters stood behind him. He said the pardon would be signed later that day.

“She was guilty for voting. And we are going to be signing a full and complete pardon. And I think that’s really fantastic,” he said. “She deserves it.”

Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony
| Credit: Frances Benjamin Johnston/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty

Anthony, an early voting rights activist and women's suffrage leader, has become a controversial figure in recent years. Some anti-abortion groups have used her as a model, claiming she would have supported their cause. She has also been criticized for sidelining Black women's activists.

Trump’s pardon announcement came as the White House commemorated the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women over 21 the right to vote in the U.S. However, many women of color were still left unable to vote due to discriminatory laws at the state and local level.

The president, who has a history of making lewd comments about women and has been accused by at least 25 women of sexual misconduct (all of which he denies), has been making appeals to female voters in recent weeks as the Nov. 3 election approaches.

The outreach comes as several polls point toward problems for Trump among suburban women falling. Two recent polls from Politico and Morning Consult show that support from that demographic is at 34 percent.

Last week, a bright pink “Women for Trump” bus started a tour across the country, and Trump has made repeated references to “suburban housewives” in press conferences and on Twitter.

“The ‘suburban housewife’ will be voting for me,” Trump wrote on Twitter last week. “They want safety & are thrilled that I ended the long running program where low income housing would invade their neighborhood.”

Deborah L. Hughes, the president and CEO of The National Susan B. Anthony Museum and House, on Tuesday rejected Trump's pardon of the suffragette.

"Objection! Mr. President, Susan B. Anthony must decline your offer of a pardon today," Hughes wrote in a statement shared on the museum's website.

"If one wants to honor Susan B. Anthony today, a clear stance against any form of voter suppression would be welcome," Hughes continued.

"Enforcement and expansion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would be celebrated, we must assure that states respect the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the United States Constitution," her statement continued. "Support for the Equal Rights Amendment would be well received. Advocacy for human rights for all would be splendid. Anthony was also a strong proponent of sex education, fair labor practices, excellent public education, equal pay for equal work, and elimination of all forms of discrimination."