White House Oval Office Washington D.C. November 25 5:10 P.M. EST
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 one-dollar silver coins in a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of women securing the right to vote. Nobody is going to take that one off. 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?
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.
Number one. Number one. (Applause.)
That's pretty good, right? (Applause.)
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 the job.
The one-dollar 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? Let me sign this first.
Oh, yes. Cannot wait. Long time coming.
This is a big one, right? You came all the way back for this signing, right?
I did. I did.
(The bill is signed.)
So who should get the first pen, Marsha? Who?
It's my bill! (Laughter.)
That sounds reasonable.
That's a big thing. This is a great - you've been working on this for years, right? (Applause.)
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, 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, just on (inaudible).
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 co-sponsor in the Senate. We passed it out of the Senate with every single senator voting for it in June -
- 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 co-sponsors on the bill.
And it's important to realize that women's suffrage was a 72-year process. It started at Seneca Falls, New York. And then, 72 years later, in Nashville, Tennessee - August 18th, 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.
Oh, great job. (Applause.)
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. He got the call and I got the second call, and we made it happen with all of their support.
And this is great leadership, and we're looking forward to having several months to position this coin to benefit a very worthy cause, the Smithsonian, Mr. President.
So why wasn't this done a long time ago - years ago?
Well, I think has started out with you nominating Kay Coles James this year -
That helped. (Laughter.)
- and myself as the U.S. Treasurer on the commission.
You know what helps.
And then, of course, we assem- - we assembled a wonderful team.
Please. Go ahead, Kay.
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. She has done such a phenomenal job.
And we have great leadership right here, in our chair and our co-chair. But it has been exciting, and we look forward to educating and celebrating with the women of America.
You did a fantastic job. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. President.
How about our chair saying something? Please.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY 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 you go from 100 to 300, that's the power of a lot of women working together. So thank you, Mr. President.
Thank you very much. Great job. Really fantastic.
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