WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for the immediate removal of 11 Confederate statues from the United States Capitol on the grounds that their presence promotes “barbarism.”
In a letter to Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo, and Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif, who head a congressional panel responsible for the handling of Capitol displays, Pelosi said the statues represent “cruelty.”
“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy,” Pelosi wrote in the letter sent Wednesday. “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. 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.”
In a statement issued in response, Lofgren wrote that she supported Pelosi’s efforts to remove the statues.
“Indeed, what the Confederate statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection represent is anathema to who we are as a Congress and a country,” Lofgren said. “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. I stand ready, and call on the Chair of the Joint Committee to swiftly approve the removal of these statues. The Capitol building belongs to the American people and cannot serve as a place of honor for the hatred and racism that tears at the fabric of our nation, the very poison that these statues embody.”
As of press time, Blunt had not yet issued a response.