Pelosi Repeats: Spirits of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth Spoke to Me in White House

By CNSNews.com Staff | August 30, 2018 | 4:39pm EDT
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaking at a Public Policy Institute of California event on Aug. 22, 2018. (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) - At an appearance in San Francisco last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) repeated her story that the spirits of women’s rights activists Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul and Sojourner Truth squeezed into her chair—and then spoke to her--the first time she went to a meeting at the White House after being elected House Minority Leader.

When she was elected to that post on Nov. 14, 2002, Pelosi became the first woman in U.S. history to become the leader of either party in the House or Senate.

“I sit down and as he [President George W. Bush] is being so gracious and welcoming, I feel really squeezed in in my chair,” Pelosi told the audience at an August 22 event sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of California.

“I mean I’m, like I’m squeezed in in my chair,” she said. “And I am thinking: What is this? And I realized Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth. All of them. They were all in the chair, right there, with me. They were right there. I’ve never had that experience before or since. They were right there on the chair. And I could hear them say: At last we have a seat at the table.

“And then they were gone,” said Pelosi.

As CNSNews.com reported in August 2012, Pelosi had then recently told the same story to a meeting of the Women’s Political Committee. She had also told it, CNSNews.com reported, at the May 20, 2012 graduation ceremony at Trinity Washington University. She also told it, CNSNews.com noted in the 2012 story, in her 2005 commencement address at Goucher College in Baltimore.

Pelosi’s 2005 commencement address at Goucher is available on CSPAN. Here is a tape of Pelosi telling the story to the Women’s Political Committee in 2012:

Here is a transcript of Pelosi telling the story at the Aug. 22, 2018 PPIC event:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “When I first, went to my first meeting, as representing as a leader, went to my first meeting, to the White House, I wasn’t apprehensive about it because I’m an intelligence person more than anybody else in the history of the Congress. I have been there on intelligence matters. I’m an appropriator. I was a leader on the Appropriations Committee. And, so, I just didn’t even think about it. I am going to the White House for a meeting. Well, when I went to the meeting and the doors closed behind me, I realized that this was unlike any other meeting I had ever been to in the White House. In fact, it was unlike any meeting that any women had ever been to in the White House.

“Very small meeting: President of the United States and Vice President and then, House and Senate, Democratic and Republican leaders. Just small, maybe ten people at the most, around the table. And I felt: Oh my! Because here I was. Now, women sit at the Cabinet table, yes, appointed by the president—whose vote counts more than anybody else’s at the table.

“But I was coming, elected by my colleagues, first branch of government, the Legislative Branch, Article 1. First time. So, I sit down, and President Bush is gracious as he could ever be. George W. Bush. Welcoming or this or that. Lovely.

“And while he was talking about it: Oh, yeah, I’m sure we’re going to hear some things we haven’t heard before. You know, you can just imagine. But he was lovely and gracious. The Bushes always that.

“So, I am sitting in my--I sit down and as he’s being so gracious and welcoming, I feel really squeezed in in my chair. I mean I’m, like I’m squeezed in in my chair. And I am thinking: What is this? And I realized Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Alice Paul, Sojourner Truth. All of them. They were all in the chair, right there, with me. They were right there. I’ve never had that experience before or since. They were right there on the chair. And I could hear them say: At last we have a seat at the table.

“And then they were gone.

“And then I could pay attention to President Bush. And then they were gone. And my first thought was: We want more. We want more.

“But just a reminder of the shoulders that all of us stand on. And those who stand on our shoulders as well.”

 

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