Trump: Why Did We Wait 100 Years to Mark a Centennial?

The president asks the tough questions.

Michael Reynolds/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

Does Donald Trump know what defines a centennial? 

The question arose on Monday during a White House event commemorating the passage of a bill honoring the women’s suffrage movement. The Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act, which directs the Treasury Department to mint up to 400,000 $1 silver coins celebrating the 19th Amendment, passed with unanimous consent in Congress and is one of the least controversial bills to land on the president’s desk.

But as Trump opened his mouth in an attempt to lavish praise on himself for the bill—on its own, an absurd moment—trouble quickly arrived. “I’m curious,” he asked from the Oval Office, “why wasn’t it done a long time ago? I guess the answer to that is because now I’m president, we get things done.”

Trump’s curiosity immediately called into question whether he understands how centennials work, as the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920 and the coins will debut in January 2020. The bill’s lead sponsor and newly minted vocal supporter of the president, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), apparently was not available to help the president untangle the tricky, four-syllable word.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.