Remarks on Signing the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
The President. Okay, thank you very much. In a few moments, I will be signing into law the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act. This new law directs the Treasury Department to issue 400,000 $1 silver coins in a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote. Nobody is going to take that one off. [Laughter] We just said—nobody. Not with these women.
We're pleased to be joined on this special occasion by Secretary Elaine Chao, Deputy Secretary Karen Dunn Kelley, Deputy Director Margaret Weichert, Acting Deputy Secretary Kate MacGregor, Administrator Emily Murphy, and Chairman Mary Anne Carter. Thank you all very much.
Also thanks to Senator Marsha Blackburn, who has been doing an incredible job, and Representative Liz Cheney, likewise an incredible job. And actually, I just learned something, Liz. Would you say what you just told me about Wyoming?
Representative Elizabeth L. Cheney. Yes, sir, Mr. President. Wyoming was the first place on Earth where women had the right to vote. We've been voting 150 years in Wyoming.
The President. Number one. Number one. That's pretty good, right?
Also with us are members of the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission: Executive Director of the Commission Anna Laymon; Treasurer of the United States Jovita Carranza; Assistant Secretary Susan Combs; president of Independent Women's Voice Heather Higgins; president of the Heritage Foundation Kay Coles James; president of the Susan B. Anthony List Major—that's Marjorie Dannenfelser; president of Concerned Women of America—that's Penny Nance; Julissa Marenco from the Smithsonian; Colleen Shogan from the Library of Congress. Those are great names, I'll tell you. [Laughter] But they're doing a job.
The $1 coins that we—will be issued under the Act will honor the vital history of the women's suffrage movement and celebrate many of the brave heroes who fought for the right to vote, such as Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Ida B. Wells.
All proceeds from the sale of these coins will go to the Smithsonian's Women's History Initiative. My administration will always celebrate the immeasurable contributions of women to every facet of American history and life. We will fight for every day, and we will fight every night. We'll make this happen, and we'll continue to make it happen—this is going to be a tremendous success—to ensure opportunity, prosperity, justice, and equality for all women in the United States.
And I'm now going to sign the bill, and then I'm going to ask you, folks, some of you—whoever would like to—to say a few words, okay?
Senator Marsha Wedgeworth Blackburn. All right.
The President. Let me sign this first.
Sen. Blackburn. Oh, yes. Cannot wait. Long time coming.
The President. This is a big one, right? You came all the way back for this signing, right?
Sen. Blackburn. I did. I did. The President. Good.
[At this point, the President signed the bill.]
So who should get the first pen, Marsha? Who?
Participant. Marsha. [Laughter]
Sen. Blackburn. It's my bill! [Laughter]
The President. That sounds reasonable.
Sen. Blackburn. Yes. [Laughter]
The President. That's a big thing. This is a great—you've been working on this for years, right?
So—and they have. They've been working on this for years and years. And I'm curious, why wasn't it done a long time ago, and also—well, I guess the answer to that is because now I'm President—[laughter]—and we get things done. We get a lot of things done that nobody else got done. But maybe you could say a few words. You'll start it off, Marsha.
Sen. Blackburn. Oh, I'll be happy to. This was a project that so many women have worked on. Elise Stefanik was the lead sponsor in the House. Liz Cheney helped shepherd it through the House. Kirsten Gillibrand was the lead Democrat cosponsor in the Senate. We passed it out of the Senate with every single Senator voting for it in June——
The President. Wow.
Sen. Blackburn. ——and sent it over to the House. And then, we had to work a little harder to get it through over there. But it came through with over 300 cosponsors on the bill.
And it's important to realize that women's suffrage was a six—72-year process. It started at Seneca Falls, New York. And then, 72 years later, in Nashville, Tennessee—August 18, 1920—is when the 19th Amendment was ratified. So Tennessee and New York have a strong history in this, and we're just thrilled to have this bill.
Proceeds from this coin—the Women's Suffrage Commission and the Smithsonian Women's History Project—this will go into funding that process. Now, we're doing this coin with no Government expenditures because Jovita and her team are doing a great job on the sale of this coin. And then, it will help fund this to make certain that all Americans realize what women have done for the cause of freedom for our Nation. So thank you.
The President. Oh, great job.
Sen. Blackburn. Thank you.
The President. And Jovita.
U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza. I wanted to share with you that the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission had a very robust and very aggressive outreach program, with Senator Blackburn calling the Secretary of Treasury, Secretary Mnuchin.
The President. Right.
Treasurer Carranza. He got the call, and I got the second call, and we made it happen with all of their support. [Laughter] And this is great leadership, and we're looking forward to having——
Sen. Blackburn. Yes. Treasurer Carranza. ——several months to position this coin to benefit a very worthy cause, the Smithsonian, as well as women.
The President. So why wasn't this done a long time ago—years ago?
Treasurer Carranza. Well, I think has started out with you nominating Kay Coles James as Chair——
The President. That helped. [Laughter]
Treasurer Carranza. ——and myself as the U.S. Treasurer on the Commission.
The President. You know what helps.
Treasurer Carranza. And then, of course, we assembled a wonderful team.
The President. Please. Go ahead, Kay.
Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James. No, I was just going to say thank you. It has been an honor to be your representative on this Commission.
But one of the things that's most noteworthy is that we have worked together in such a bipartisan way to celebrate women's suffrage and the right to vote in this country. And I'm sorry Barbara couldn't be here today, Senator Mikulski.
The President. Right.
Ms. James. She has done such a phenomenal job.
The President. That's right.
Ms. James. And we have great leadership right here, in our Chair and our Cochair. But it has been exciting, and we look forward to educating and celebrating with the women of America.
The President. You did a fantastic job. Thank you very much.
Ms. James. Thank you, Mr. President.
The President. How about our Chair saying something? Please.
Library of Congress Deputy Director for National and International Outreach Colleen J. Shogan. Susan.
Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management, and Budget Susan Combs. Well, I just want to say that this is a privilege to be your appointee, your nominee, but also to work with this great team.
And what I really like is the zest and the energy and the enthusiasm everybody showed. In fact, we just make it impossible not to support this. So when you go from 100 to 300, that's the power of a lot of women working together. So thank you, Mr. President.
The President. Thank you very much. Great job. Really fantastic.
Lynne [Liz; White House correction.]. Thank you. Please, come on up. Lynne [Liz; White House correction.] Cheney.
Rep. Cheney. Oh, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. Appreciate it. Well, it's an honor to be here. I think it's really important for us to remember that all of us who are elected officials, who are women, all of us who are serving serve on the shoulders and the accomplishments of so many women who have come before us. I'm very proud in Wyoming of the strong women—my mother, my grandmothers, my great grandmothers—and just the tremendous work and effort that went into this over the years. And so it's an honor to be here.
The President. Your daughter.
Rep. Cheney. Oh, my daughter.
The President. She's the strongest. [Laughter]
Rep. Cheney. Exactly. That's right. And my daughter Elizabeth who's following in our footsteps. So thank you very much, Mr. President.
The President. Thank you very much.
Who would like to say something?
Independent Women's Voice Chief Executive Officer Heather Higgins. Can I add something?
The President. Yes, you can.
Ms. Higgins. I think they're underrepresenting—Senator Blackburn and Jovita. You asked why this hadn't gotten done before. Jovita basically took a page from the Wollman Rink in New York——
The President. Yes.
Ms. Higgins. ——and overcame an awful lot of the process and obstacles to make sure that something happened on time and in the right way.
The President. That's good.
Treasurer Carranza. Thank you.
Sen. Blackburn. Yes, she did.
The President. That's great. I've heard that. That's great.
Sen. Blackburn. Yes.
The President. Fantastic. Proud of you.
Sen. Blackburn. Great work. Good teamwork.
Concerned Women for America Chief Executive Officer and President Penny Young Nance. Mr. President, I would just add that—I'm Penny Nance with Concerned Women for America. This has been just a beautiful picture of bipartisanship that I think many in Congress could take a page from. Women of every ilk were able to come together and actually get something done. So we hope Congress does that same.
The President. Well, thank you. Great job. Anybody? Anybody? Final—final—Kellyanne? How about Kellyanne?
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway. Mr. President, thank you——
The President. She's always very laid back and shy. [Laughter]
Counselor Conway. I'll be laid back. Thank you. I think the women speak for itself. And thank you for your leadership. We really look forward to continuing the celebration of the centennial of the Women's Right to Vote. We go right up into next August of 2020. But it's even hard to imagine it's only been 100 years. And since we still have had—never had any female President, perhaps we'll have that in our lifetime, but your victory kept that job open. So we're here to celebrate—— The President. In 5 years, right? [Laughter] Five years.
Participant. Or longer. [Laughter]
Ms. Nance. Yes, we can wait.
Counselor Conway. That's right. But, sir, thank you for your leadership. I think the four-letter word called "will" is the difference between what does not get done and what gets done.
The President. Yes.
Counselor Conway. And the leadership and, really, some of your great team here at the White House has been working around this around the clock and has helped. Thank you, sir.
The President. Thank you. They have been working very hard on this.
So thank you very much. This is a very important bill, and it's an honor to be involved with it. And I'm glad we got it done. This administration has gotten a lot done. Thank you.
NOTE: The President spoke at 5:10 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley; Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget and Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management Margaret Weichert; Katharine McGregor, Deputy Chief of Staff, Department of the Interior; Administrator of the General Services Administration Emily Murphy; National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter; Julissa Marenco, Assistant Secretary for Communications and External Affairs and Chief Marketing Officer, Smithsonian Institution; and Elizabeth Perry, daughter of Rep. Cheney. Ms. James referred to former Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski. Rep. Cheney referred to her mother Lynne. H.R. 724, approved November 25, was assigned Public Law No. 116-72.
Donald J. Trump, Remarks on Signing the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/335057