Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT) on Wednesday announced his opposition to making Juneteenth a federal holiday as the House gears up for its vote to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Rosendale argued that making Juneteenth a federal holiday would open the floodgates for the Left to push the so-called “critical race theory” that has Republicans across the country up in arms.
“Let’s call an ace an ace. This is an effort by the Left to create a day out of whole cloth to celebrate identity politics as part of its larger efforts to make Critical Race Theory the reigning ideology of our country,” Rosendale said. “Since I believe in treating everyone equally, regardless of race, and that we should be focused on what unites us rather than our differences, I will vote no.”
Celebrated on June 19, Juneteenth marks the anniversary of Major General Gordon Granger’s 1865 announcement in Galveston, Texas of the end of slavery in accordance with President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
Forty-eight states — which includes Rosendale’s home state of Montana — currently recognize Juneteenth as a state or ceremonial holiday.
Earlier Wednesday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that the chamber will take up legislation to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, following the Senate’s unanimous passage of its resolution to commemorate the end of slavery in the country.
Legislation to commemorate Juneteenth gained traction in light of Black Lives Matter protests last year over the killing of George Floyd.
Following anti-racism protests in the wake of Floyd’s death, “critical race theory” has emerged as one of the GOP’s many culture wars, with Republican lawmakers painting the theory as an attempt by the Left to undermine American institutions. At least 21 red states have proposed legislation banning certain topics on race and racism from being discussed in the classroom, according to a survey by the publication EdWeek.