On Centennial of 19th Amendment, Trump Pardons Susan B.August 18, 2020
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Tuesday that he would pardon Susan B. Anthony, the women’s suffragist who was arrested after voting illegally in 1872 and fined $100, as he tried to appeal to female voters on the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving them the right to vote.
Delivered during a heavily political event at the White House at which Mr. Trump again disparaged mail-in voting ahead of the November election, the president’s announcement also appeared to be an effort to distract from the Democratic National Convention and narrow the historically large gender gap that has him trailing Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the White House race.
“She was never pardoned. Did you know that? She was never pardoned,” Mr. Trump said. “What took so long?”
[Read more about the women’s suffrage movement.]
Mr. Trump teased the pardon as he traveled on Air Force One on Monday, telling reporters he was going to erase the conviction of someone “very, very important.”
Anthony was tried for illegally voting and protested the fine she was charged.
“She was guilty for voting,” Mr. Trump said on Tuesday, “and we’re going to be signing a full and complete pardon.”
Unlike other people the president has pardoned, Anthony is not someone whose work Mr. Trump has spoken of during his campaign or his presidency.
She is also an increasingly divisive figure, adopted by anti-abortion forces and criticized for relegating Black suffragists to the sidelines. On Tuesday, Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political group, and Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who represents conservative groups, were in attendance as Mr. Trump made his announcement.
He has pardoned or granted clemency to a number of people whom he personally knows or whose cases resonate with him, such as Rod R. Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor who was serving a prison sentence related to a conviction on corruption charges. Mr. Trump recently granted clemency to his longtime political adviser Roger J. Stone Jr., who was convicted on several charges stemming from the investigation into possible conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.