While railing against a House amendment to preserve the display of the Confederate battle flag, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) on Thursday chose to use an anecdote about Gen. Robert E. Lee to convince conservatives to stand down.
The congressman displayed the flag next to him as he condemned a surprise move by House GOPers led by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) to defeat amendments that would ristrict the display of the symbol on federal grounds such as national parks.
“The Confederacy had three flags. This was never one of them,” Clyburn said. “This is a flag, the Confederate battle flag of the army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee’s army.”
“And when Robert E. Lee surrendered he asked all of his followers to furl this flag. Stow it away, he said. Put it in your attics,” Clyburn continued. “He refused to be buried in his Confederate uniform. His family refused to allow anyone dressed in the confederate uniform to attend his funeral.”
“Why? Because Robert E. Lee said he considered this emblem to be a symbol of treason. Yet, Calvert puts up an amendment that we’re going to vote on this afternoon to ask us to allow this flag to be sold and displayed in our national parks.”
He urged his colleagues to defeat the amendment.