Pelosi: It’s Time To Get Rid Of Confederate Statues In The Capitol

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. speaks at her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Andrew Harnik/AP

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday called for all Confederate statues to be removed from the Capitol, saying the statues are “reprehensible.”

“There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” she said in a statement.

Pelosi pressured House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans to follow suit.

“If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy,” she said, “I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.”

Pelosi’s move follows a violent white supremacist rally over the weekend that aimed to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. A self-proclaimed white supremacist allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuries more than a dozen people.

The rally and President Donald Trump’s “both sides” defense of the Nazi flag-waving protesters sparked heated debates about Confederate symbols and white supremacy. Several cities have since promised to take down Confederate statues, and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper pledged on Tuesday to take them down state-wide.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Trump expressed his opposition to removing the statues. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?” he asked.

Trump doubled down on Thursday morning, lamenting that the removal of the “beautiful” monuments would ruin the “history and culture” of the U.S.

Read Pelosi’s full statement below:

“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. 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 Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible. If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.

“Under the leadership of Democrats in Congress, we have recognized more women and people of color in Congress’s collection of statues, including Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth and Helen Keller. As Speaker, we relocated Robert E. Lee out of a place of honor in National Statuary Hall – a place now occupied by the statue of Rosa Parks.

“There is no room for celebrating the violent bigotry of the men of the Confederacy in the hallowed halls of the United States Capitol or in places of honor across the country.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cristina Cabrera is the social media editor at TPM based in New York. Previously, she worked for Vocativ and interned at USA Today and New York 1 News. She received her B.A at NYU. Follow her on Twitter @crismcabrera
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