Susan B. Anthony was a national leader in the fight for equal pay for equal work during her lifetime.
At least 13 House Republicans cheered Donald Trump's posthumous pardon of Susan B. Anthony on Tuesday. But last year, each of them voted against legislation to promote one of Anthony's most passionate priorities: equal pay.
Trump announced Tuesday that he would pardon Anthony, who was convicted by an all-male jury in 1873 of illegally voting while female. The symbolic gesture coincided with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which prohibited voting discrimination on the basis of sex.
But in addition to advocating for women's suffrage, Anthony was also a staunch advocate for equal pay for equal work.
"I do not demand equal pay for any women save those who do equal work in value," she wrote. "Scorn to be coddled by your employers; make them understand that you are in their services as workers, not as women."
According to the Susan B. Anthony Center at the University of Rochester, pay disparity remains a huge problem today: "On a national level, women earn 80% on average of what men earn, across all professions and distinctions. The pay gap is even worse for older women (yes, it gets worse as you age!)."
But when the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act last March — a bill aimed at addressing the imbalance — nearly every Republican in the chamber voted against it.
Like hundreds of other House-passed proposals, the bill is stuck in the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to block it from even getting a vote.
Despite their opposition to Anthony's equal pay goals, 13 House Republicans posted on social media on Tuesday about how happy they were to see Trump issuing the pardon:
- Kelly Armstrong (R-ND): "President Trump just announced that today — the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment — he'll be pardoning Susan B. Anthony, a pioneer in the Women's Suffrage movement who was convicted by an all-male jury of illegal voting," Armstrong wrote on Facebook.
- Andy Biggs (R-AZ): "Thank you, President Donald J. Trump, for this well-deserved announcement of a pardon for Susan B. Anthony," Biggs wrote on Facebook.
- Michael Burgess (R-TX): "On this historic day of remembrance of women's suffrage, it is fitting that the President pardoned Susan B. Anthony for voting in 1872." Burgess tweeted. "Her willingness to raise #GoodTrouble is part of why the 'Susan B. Anthony Amendment' was ratified 100 years ago. #19thAmendment"
- Kevin Hern (R-OK): "100 years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, President Trump posthumously pardoned Susan B. Anthony. She was arrested, tried, and convicted for attempting to vote illegally in 1872. She was one of the loudest and most effective voices in the movement for women’s suffrage and has a bust in the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building to honor her work," Hern wrote on Facebook. "To be honest, I'm wondering how it took so many years for this pardon to happen."
- Bob Latta (R-OH): "Today we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the #19thAmendment, which granted women the right to vote," Latta wrote on Facebook. "In honor of this milestone, the President signed a proclamation declaring August 2020 as National Suffrage Month and announced he will issue a full pardon for women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony, who was arrested for voting in 1872. I am proud to live in a country that fights for equality and freedom."
- Patrick McHenry (R-NC): "On this day, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in the United States. The 19th amendment was ratified into the U.S. Constitution on August 18th, 1920, giving American women the right to vote," McHenry wrote on Facebook. "Today, President Trump pardoned Susan B. Anthony, one of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, in honor of this historic day. Please join me in celebrating this milestone and all who fought hard to give women the right to vote."
- Dan Meuser (R-PA): "Today is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Thank you to President Trump for commemorating such an important movement in our nation's history with the announcement that he will grant a posthumous pardon to Susan B. Anthony," Meuser wrote on Facebook. "Anthony was a trailblazer in advocating for the right to vote for women, and was arrested for attempting to vote. Her efforts secured a monumental victory to ensure we have one citizen, one vote in America."
- Pete Olson (R-TX): "Proud to see President Donald J. Trump give pioneering suffragette Susan B. Anthony a well deserved posthumous pardon for her pioneering efforts on behalf of all women!" Olson wrote on Facebook.
- John Shimkus (R-IL): "What a great way to commemorate this important milestone in our nation's history!" Shimkus wrote on Facebook, as he shared a link to a story about Trump's pardon.
- Greg Steube (R-FL): "Today President Trump will posthumously pardon Susan B. Anthony to celebrate a century since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Anthony spearheaded the fight for women’s right to vote and was arrested for illegally voting in 1872," Steube wrote on Facebook. "I applaud President Trump for this decision as we celebrate the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage!"
- Daniel Webster (R-FL): "Today marks the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. President Trump today commemorated the anniversary of this historic date, by granting a posthumous pardon to Susan B. Anthony," Webster wrote on Facebook. "One of the founders of the U.S. suffragist movement, Susan B. Anthony, fought for the right to vote after being found guilty of illegally voting in the presidential election 1872. Her work and the countless suffragists alongside her secured the right to vote and help bring our country closer to becoming a more perfect union."
- Brad Wenstrup (R-OH): "This is a great move by President Trump on the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment," Wenstrup wrote on Facebook. "Susan B. Anthony was a trailblazer for woman’s suffrage and an advocate for protecting unborn children!" Anti-abortion advocates have claimed Anthony wrote an essay opposing the procedure, though historians dispute this claim.
- Don Young (R-AK): "On this day 100 years ago, the 19th Amendment was ratified, and women's right to vote was finally secured. We will forever be indebted to the trailblazing women of the suffrage movement. Their dogged determination and commitment to equality made a lasting impact and helped make America 'a more perfect Union.'" Young wrote on Facebook. "I am very pleased that today, one of our nation's most prominent suffragists, Susan B. Anthony, was posthumously pardoned by the President. Her only crime was having the courage to cast a vote when it was still illegal for women to do so."
None of the lawmakers immediately responded to inquiries for this story.
Not everyone was cheering Trump's move on Tuesday. Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, tweeted that the pardon was "ridiculous," as "Susan B. Anthony wore her conviction as a badge of honor, one in a long line of leaders who used civil disobedience towards social progress. The last thing she would want is the misogynist in chief pardoning her."
Trump said not endorsed the Paycheck Fairness Act and said in 2015 that equal pay was dangerous because "you get away from the whole American Dream" and "you're into a socialistic society." According to a 2017 Washington Post analysis, the gender pay gap for White House employees tripled after he took office.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.