A House-Senate panel, which manages the National Statuary Hall Collection, was directed to tear down nearly a dozen historical monuments at the home of national Congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has ordered the Joint Committee on the Library to direct architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton to “immediately take steps to remove” 11 statues from the Confederacy era at the Capitol complex.
Pelosi claimed two of the offending sculptures portrayed Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis and Vice President Alexander Stephens.
“Both of whom were charged with treason against the United States,” she said in a June 10 letter addressed to committee Chairman Roy Blunt and Vice Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren.
Pelosi accused Davis, who was a Democrat, of controversially ranking white Americans higher than African Americans.
“He laid out in blunt and simple terms the awful truth of the Confederacy: ‘Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination into the superior race is his natural and normal condition,'” she said.
She also claimed the historical leaders were so cruel and barbaric their likenesses did not deserve to be displayed because they do not reflect a modern approach to multiculturalism.
“Statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” she said. “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 [and] they must be removed.”
Pelosi admitted dismantling the statues will remove part of the nation’s history and defended the decision by promising the past mistakes of those leaders will not be repeated, even though they will no longer be available for the public to view.
“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 U.S. Capitol or in places of honor across the country,” she said.
The Oval Office earlier dismissed a U.S. Navy proposal to rebrand bases that were named after Confederate leaders, because it would censor the nation’s past military achievements.
“My administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations,” President Donald Trump said on Twitter.
The president described bases like Fort Hood in Texas, which was named in honor of Gen. John Bell Hood, as “monumental” and “very powerful” bases that should be preserved.
“[They] have become part of a great American heritage, and a history of winning, victory, and freedom,” he said on Twitter. “The United States of America trained and deployed our heroes on these hallowed grounds, and won two World Wars … our history as the greatest nation in the world will not be tampered with, respect our military.”