House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been among her party’s leading voices condemning the acts of rioters on Capitol Hill last year.
During a recent appearance on CNN, Pelosi again hammered down her opinion on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot, even threatening to remove statues from the halls of Congress that she suggested are relics of the ideas that led to the unrest that day.
“We’ve never had a Confederate flag walking through here,” the speaker told host Anderson Cooper, according to a transcript from her office. “We never had the kind of disrespect and defecation and all the rest of it that went with the motley crew that came through here at the wish of the former president of the United States.”
“At the wish of the former president”
The speaker then expanded her remarks to include a divisive partisan message related to the Democratic Party’s push to remove statues of Confederate figures from the halls of Congress.
“Some of these people have to go, and we have a bill to get rid of them,” Pelosi said. “But nonetheless, some of the newer people we are very proud to have in the Capitol — more diversity, shall we say? And more consistency as to the United States of America.” Take a look:
“Lead us by example”
In addition to backing a bill to remove certain now-controversial statues, the speaker also sent a letter in 2020 to the Joint Committee on the Library to request such action.
“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,” she wrote. “Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals. Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.”
The California Democrat then called on Republicans to stand with her and “lead us by example.”
She concluded her letter with her request that “the Joint Committee on the Library direct the Architect of the Capitol to immediately take steps to remove these 11 statues from display in the United States Capitol.”
The bottom line
Like many others in her party, Pelosi appears to be using the Jan. 6 riot as a tool by which to apply political pressure in the legislative process. As a result, many Americans now see the presence of a Confederate flag at the Capitol as evidence that most, if not all, of the pro-Trump protesters in D.C. that day were racist.
Pelosi and other congressional Democrats have cited the Jan. 6 riot in pushing for voter reform bills and increased government spending, among other partisan proposals. Judging from some polls, however, it seems clear that many Americans are not buying it.