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Statement on Signing the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act

November 02, 2017

Today, I am pleased to sign into law, H.R. 2989, the "Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act", which will create the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission, which will be responsible for planning, developing, and carrying out activities to honor Frederick Douglass on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Our Nation rightly honors the life of Mr. Douglass, a former slave who became an outstanding orator and a leader of the abolitionist movement. I also welcome the participation of the members of the Congress in the valuable work the Commission will perform. Consistent with Signing Statements issued by President Obama and President Reagan regarding similar legislation, I understand that, with respect to their work on the Commission, the members of the Congress and their appointees "'will be able to participate only in ceremonial or advisory functions'" and "'not in matters involving the administration of the act in light of the separation of powers and the Appointments and Ineligibility Clauses of the Constitution.'" (Public Papers of the President, Barack Obama, Vol. I, 2009, page 756 (quoting Public Papers of the President, Ronald Reagan, Vol. II, 1983, page 1390)). All Americans have much to learn from the life and writings of Mr. Douglass, and I look forward to working with the Commission to celebrate the achievements of this great man.


The White House,

November 2, 2017.

NOTE: H.R. 2989, approved November 2, was assigned Public Law No. 115-77.

Donald J. Trump, Statement on Signing the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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