Madam Secretary

‘Shrine’ to Hillary Clinton returning to Ronald Reagan Building

A giant, 800-pound bronze plaque that the Washington Post‘s Al Kamen says was once the centerpiece of a "shrine" to Hillary Clinton is returning to the Ronald Reagan Building after having been removed during George W. Bush’s administration. The plaque — 9 feet tall by 6 feet wide — was installed on a marble wall ...

A giant, 800-pound bronze plaque that the Washington Post's Al Kamen says was once the centerpiece of a "shrine" to Hillary Clinton is returning to the Ronald Reagan Building after having been removed during George W. Bush's administration.

The plaque -- 9 feet tall by 6 feet wide -- was installed on a marble wall 12 years ago in the lobby of the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Reagan Building. The engravings on it include an excerpt from a Clinton speech about "expanding the circle of human dignity" and this over-the-top remark from the USAID administrator at the time: "May all who pass through these portals recognize the invaluable contribution to worldwide development made by the First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton."

During the Bush administration, the plaque was sent to a warehouse and was eventually replaced with a memorial to USAID workers who died in the line of duty. Early last year, Clinton joked about reinstalling the plaque. She later told the Washington Post that she wanted no public funds to go toward reinstallation. Today Kamen writes, "But now they've apparently raised the money (not clear from whom), because workers have been on scaffolding preparing the wall to hold the plaque."

A giant, 800-pound bronze plaque that the Washington Post‘s Al Kamen says was once the centerpiece of a "shrine" to Hillary Clinton is returning to the Ronald Reagan Building after having been removed during George W. Bush’s administration.

The plaque — 9 feet tall by 6 feet wide — was installed on a marble wall 12 years ago in the lobby of the U.S. Agency for International Development in the Reagan Building. The engravings on it include an excerpt from a Clinton speech about "expanding the circle of human dignity" and this over-the-top remark from the USAID administrator at the time: "May all who pass through these portals recognize the invaluable contribution to worldwide development made by the First Lady of the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton."

During the Bush administration, the plaque was sent to a warehouse and was eventually replaced with a memorial to USAID workers who died in the line of duty. Early last year, Clinton joked about reinstalling the plaque. She later told the Washington Post that she wanted no public funds to go toward reinstallation. Today Kamen writes, "But now they’ve apparently raised the money (not clear from whom), because workers have been on scaffolding preparing the wall to hold the plaque."

Thank goodness private — not public — funds are apparently being used to rehang the plaque (on another wall in the lobby, so as not to disturb the memorial). And nothing personal against Clinton, but no living person should be glorified in this manner. (As for someone who’s deceased and whose legacy has stood the test of time, that’s another matter.)

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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