House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says it’s time for statues of Confederate leaders at the U.S. Capitol to go.
According to the Washington Examiner, Pelosi wrote a letter this week to Congress’ Joint Committee on the Library requesting that nearly a dozen Confederate statues, which she called “monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism,” be removed from the National Statuary Hall Collection.
“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy,” she wrote, according to the Examiner. “The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation.”
“The states make that decision”
Pelosi also said in her letter that the statues “pay homage to hate, not heritage,” as the Examiner reported. “They must be removed,” she concluded.
The chairs of the bicameral Library Committee had differing responses to Pelosi’s demands.
“Indeed, what the Confederate statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection represent is anathema to who we are as a Congress and a country,” Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA) concurred, according to the Examiner. “I agree that the Joint Committee and Architect of the Capitol should expediently remove these symbols of cruelty and bigotry from the halls of the Capitol.”
According to Politico, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt (MO) was more reticent on the issue.
“The Congress could change any law they want to. If they want to change a law and say, ‘No we’re now going to decide what statues states can have,’ they can certainly do that,” the GOP senator said, according to Politico. “There’s no authority to move statues out of the Capitol short of that.”
For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) seemed to agree with that assessment. “Every state is allowed two statues. They can trade them out any time,” McConnell told reporters Thursday, according to Politico. “A number of states are trading them out now, but I think that’s the appropriate way to deal with the statue issue. The states make that decision.”
“Preserving our sacred institutions”
The issue of Confederate statues is one that Pelosi has a personal connection to; according to a 2017 report from Fox News, the House speaker’s father, former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., once helped to dedicate a memorial to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
“Today, with our nation beset by subversive groups and propaganda which seeks to destroy our national unity, we can look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson to remind us to be resolute and determined in preserving our sacred institutions,” D’Alesandro said at the time, according to a 1948 Baltimore Sun article cited by Fox.
Of course, Pelosi hasn’t didn’t mention that monument this week. Double standards, anyone?