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Trump pardon of Susan B. Anthony not welcomed by area leaders

Randy Gorbman
(l to r) Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Susan B. Anthony Museum & House President and CEO Deborah Hughes and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in front of Anthony's house on Madison St. in Rochester.

A pardon from President Donald Trump on Tuesday on behalf of famed suffragist Susan B. Anthony is being criticized in the city where she lived for many years.

The president announced the pardon of Anthony on the day that is also the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which helped guarantee women the right to vote. Anthony was arrested in 1872 for violating the law that allowed only men to vote at that time.

Speaking in front of the Rochester house where Anthony lived for many years, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said if Anthony were alive today, she would decline the president’s offer.

"So I’m calling on Donald Trump, rescind that pardon," Hochul said. "Susan B. Anthony is calling to us right now, saying 'I don’t want to be pardoned.' I was proud to be arrested, I was proud to be arrested in this very home, and she was also proud of the fact that she never paid her fine because she was not a guilty woman."

Similar feelings were voiced by Mayor Lovely Warren and Deborah Hughes, president and CEO of the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House.

"(She) did what she thought was the right thing to do; to make sure that women and people of color and everyone in our society has access to the ballot box," Warren said about Anthony. "(She) died fighting for that right...her and women like her.”

Hughes noted that Anthony’s work is not done.

"We are still working for human rights, that we are still working for a republic that can be a model around the world, for a republic that understands the role of government is to care for, to educate, to protect, and to take care of people, all the people." Hughes said. "Every single one."

Trump held a White House event to announce the pardon and sign a proclamation declaring August 2020 as National Suffrage Month. But, he and the women assembled for the event quickly pivoted to the upcoming election and the outcry over Postal Service disruptions that Democrats say endanger the voting rights of millions of Americans who would vote by mail in November during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul addressing the pardon to be issued by President Trump for Susan B. Anthony:

Also on Tuesday, Ontario County officials held a street naming ceremony honoring Susan B. Anthony. The newly named Susan B. Anthony Lane is near the Ontario County courthouse, where in 1873 she was tried on the charge of voting illegally in the presidential election of 1872.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.