House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday urged the removal of 11 statues representing Confederate figures from the U.S. Capitol as efforts to take down monuments linked to racism grow in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
In a letter sent to the leadership of the Joint Committee on the Library, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Pelosi wrote that statues in the Capitol “should embody our highest ideals as Americans” and that monuments of men linked to the Confederacy must be removed “immediately.”
“Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed,” Pelosi wrote. “While I believe it is imperative that we never forget our history lest we repeat it, I also believe that 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.”
Shortly after Pelosi issued her letter, Lofgren said in a statement that her committee and the U.S. Capitol “should expediently remove these symbols of cruelty and bigotry.”
“I stand ready, and call on the Chair of the Joint Committee to swiftly approve the removal of these statues,” Lofgren wrote. “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.”
Pelosi’s letter was issued just hours after President Trump tweeted that he will “not even consider” changing bases named after Confederate generals, contradicting Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy’s statement on Monday saying that they are “open to a bipartisan discussion” on renaming the bases.
The House Speaker’s request also comes on the heels of NASCAR’s announcement that it is banning the Confederate flag from its races and properties.
Read Pelosi’s letter below: