Jamie Raskin alters Thomas Paine line at Pelosi’s urging: ‘The times that try men and women’s souls’

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The lead Democratic House impeachment manager on Thursday re-wrote Thomas Paine’s famous revolutionary passage about “the times that try men’s souls,” changing it to “men and women’s souls” at the behest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland was wrapping up the Democrats’ case against former President Donald Trump when he cited Paine’s classic phrasing from a pamphlet called “The American Crisis.” But Mr. Raskin said he was bowing to a suggestion from Mrs. Pelosi to alter the passage.

“Paine wrote this pamphlet called ‘The Crisis’ and in it, he said these beautiful words, and with your permission, I’m going to update the language a little bit, pursuant to the suggestion of Speaker Pelosi, so as not to offend modern sensibilities,” Mr. Raskin said. “He said, ‘These are the times that try men and women’s souls, these are the times that try men and women’s souls.”

It was reminiscent of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Democrat and a Methodist minister, ending a prayer last month with “Amen and A-woman” at the start of a House session. Mr. Cleaver later said it was intended as a pun, not as a statement on gender politics.

Mr. Raskin went on to quote Paine: “The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will shrink at this moment from the service of their cause and their country; but everyone who stands with us now, will win the love and the favor and affection of every man and every woman for all time. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; but we have this saving consolation: the more difficult the struggle, the more glorious in the end will be our victory.”

Then he wished senators good luck in their deliberations.

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