President Biden on Friday called for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Latino and the American Women’s History Museum to be built on the National Mall in Washington.
Speaking at the White House’s official Hispanic Heritage Month reception, Biden endorsed the push to include the museums in the country’s most-visited national park, lending his support to a key symbolic demand made by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) on Thursday.
“You’re proof that Hispanic history is American history,” Biden told attendees while opening his remarks.
“For that reason, Congress should take action to honor the Latino community and women with their own museums on the National Mall. It’s time,” said Biden.
The presidential endorsement is a major victory for the CHC and the museum’s backers, who had put significant public pressure on Biden to support their bid.
All 36 members of the CHC wrote to Biden on Thursday, asking him to explicitly endorse the idea of building the Latino Museum and the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum on the National Mall.
“Today’s remarks by President Biden make clear that he stands with Latinos across this country and wholeheartedly believes our stories deserve their rightful place on the National Mall. As we move forward in the site selection process for the National Museum of the American Latino, I look forward to his continued support,” said Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-Calif.), who led Thursday’s letter.
Biden’s endorsement reflects a similar move by former President George W. Bush, whose support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture was a significant step in getting that museum built in its location on the National Mall.
Biden earlier this month called for the museum to be built in Washington, but his endorsement of a location on the National Mall specifically is likely to strengthen that effort.
“Today, President Biden stood by the over 62 million Latinos in the United States and affirmed that the National Mall is the only rightful place for the National Museum of the American Latino,” said Estuardo Rodriguez, president and CEO of the Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino.
“We applaud the President for leaning into the efforts of hundreds over the last 30 years to ensure our complete story is told on our country’s grandest stage. We will continue to work with the Biden Administration, Congress, and the Smithsonian to ensure all pathways are cleared for our nation’s next great museum to be built where it belongs — on the National Mall,” added Rodríguez.