House Republicans file symbolic bills to honor Trump's presidency to counter his legal troubles

 June 19, 2024

Democrats and the media have undeniably sought to make former President Donald Trump politically toxic with multiple criminal indictments, trials, and convictions, but Republicans in Congress have responded by pushing back against that concerted effort.

Over the past few months, congressional Republicans have introduced several symbolic pieces of legislation that are intended to honor Trump at the national level and render the prosecutions and convictions meaningless, USA Today reported.

Those proposed honors include placing Trump's portrait on money, awarding him a congressional medal, and renaming a major airport and even the nation's coastal waters after him.

$500 bills and gold medals

On June 5, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced the Treasury Reserve Unveiling Memorable Portrait, or TRUMP Act, which would instruct the Treasury Department to resurrect the $500 bill with former President Trump's face on it instead of former President William McKinley.

Gosar pointed to President Joe Biden's high inflation and elevated prices for goods and services as among the reasons for his proposed legislation.

Just a few weeks earlier in May, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) introduced a bill to award the former Republican president with a Congressional Gold Medal "in recognition of his exceptional leadership and dedication to strengthening America's diplomatic relations during his presidency."

Renaming airports and coastal zones

Some House Republicans have sought to honor former President Trump by renaming important things after him, such as the major international airport that services Washington D.C. and is currently named in honor of John Foster Dulles, who served as Secretary of State under former President Dwight Eisenhower during the initial phase of the Cold War against the Soviets.

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced a bill in April that would rename the Washington Dulles International Airport as the Donald J. Trump International Airport.

"In my lifetime, our nation has never been greater than under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump," the Pennsylvania congressman said. "As millions of domestic and international travelers fly through the airport, there is no better symbol of freedom, prosperity, and strength than hearing ‘Welcome to Trump International Airport’ as they land on American soil."

Topping even that, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) this month announced a bill that would officially rename the nation's coastal waters on all documents, maps, and records as the "Donald John Trump Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States," which encompasses more than 4.3 million square miles and grants the U.S. sole jurisdiction over all natural resources contained therein.

The Florida congressman pointed to Trump's "several commendable actions for our oceans as part of his work to make America strong, secure, and economically prosperous" as the reason behind his proposed legislation.

Democrats fire back with prison renaming proposal

Of course, while many Democrats have criticized the Republican efforts to honor former President Trump, some Democrats have joined in on the game with symbolic legislative proposals of their own to take a swipe against the legally embattled ex-president.

In April, in direct response to the bill to rename Dulles Airport after Trump, a trio of House Democrats led by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-MA) introduced a bill that would rename the federal prison in Miami, Florida, as the Donald J. Trump Federal Correctional Institution.

Given the deep partisan divide in the nearly evenly split House, none of these bills have any hope of ever being passed, but the lawmakers who introduced them know that and their eventual passage is less of a point than the symbolism.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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