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Guilty of nothing: Lt. Gov. Hochul says Susan B. Anthony doesn’t need Trump’s pardon

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After President Donald Trump said he would pardon Susan B. Anthony for her crime of voting in 1872, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said she was “deeply troubled.”

Anthony is best known for her role in the movement to secure voting rights for women.

Trump said he would sign “a full and complete pardon” Tuesday, the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which ensured women the right to vote. It’s also known as the Susan B. Anthony Amendment.

“I was deeply troubled to learn that Trump went ahead and treated her like a criminal,” Hochul said. “Susan B. Anthony was guilty of nothing.”

From the Susan B. Anthony House, the lieutenant governor said they are demanding the president rescind his pardon.

“She was proud of her arrest to draw attention to the cause for women’s rights, and never paid her fine. Let her Rest in Peace,” Hochul said. “I stopped a long time trying to figure out why he does what he does, but this was not to honor her. I don’t know why he did what he did ,but I assure you it was not with the best interest of the public at heart.”

MORE | Rochester plans yearlong celebration for Susan B. Anthony’s 200th birthday

“I agree with the lieutenant governor,” Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said. “The pardon should be rescinded because she didn’t want it. She did what she thought was the right thing to do to.”

“I reacted a little bit like the lieutenant governor when I heard the announcement today; I think it’s about respect,” said Deborah Hughes, Anthony House President.

Trump’s action comes as his support has been eroding among suburban white women in battleground states since his last campaign, in part because of his harsh rhetoric.

In recent weeks Trump has recognized he needs to work to undo some of the damage among the pivotal constituency and has stepped up his events aimed at women. His campaign has launched a “women for Trump” bus tour and the president has embraced a “law and order” message with renewed vigor.

Trump’s move move also comes amid an outcry over Postal Service disruptions that Democrats say endanger the voting rights of millions of Americans who would vote by mail in November amid the pandemic. Trump has denied asking for the mail to be delayed even as he leveled fresh criticism on mail-in voting.

Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New York, and convicted in a widely publicized trial. Although she refused to pay the fine, the authorities declined to take further action.

MORE | Election Day history: 147 years ago Susan B. Anthony illegally voted

The 19th Amendment states that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Congress passed it in 1919, and the amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920.

Visiting Anthony’s grave site in Rochester’s Mount Hope Cemetery has become a popular ritual in recent years on Election Day. Thousands turned out in 2016 for the presidential match-up between Trump and Hillary Clinton. In 2018, voters showed up by the dozens to put their “I Voted” stickers on her headstone.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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