What does Rep. Yvette Clarke have against Bob Hope?
That’s what some fans of the legendary comic and troop entertainer want to know after Clarke (D–Park Slope) was the only member of the House to vote “no” on a proposal to name the library on Ellis Island after the British-born Hope.
“Ellis Island is a national treasure and has unfathomable significance to most Americans,” Clarke said in a statement. “Bob Hope is a great American and a fantastic human being, [but] I see the museum and all aspects of the island to be greater than any one human being.”
But Rep. Eliot Engel (D–Bronx), the bill’s author, saw it differently.
“Bob Hope brought laughter and entertainment to Americans, especially our armed forces, for decades,” he said. “It is fitting that a room on Ellis Island be named for him.”
But Clarke wasn’t buying it, and said that renaming the library for one person would insult many people.
“What about all the black slaves that were brought over from Africa?” asked Chic Smith, Clarke’s spokeswoman. “They can’t identify with Bob Hope.”
Of course, African slaves weren’t brought to the U.S. through Ellis Island, but you get Clarke’s point — and she added that she would have opposed the naming no matter who was nominated for the honor.
The bill was approved 420–1, and will go to the Senate for a widely expected approval. Piece of advice to Engel: Don’t bother inviting the freshman congresswoman to the name-changing ceremony.