Calls grow among Democrats to remove Confederate monuments from the U.S. Capitol

Calls grow among Democrats to remove Confederate monuments from the U.S. Capitol
A bronze statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis (second from left) stands inside Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
A bronze statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis (second from left) stands inside Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Thursday, calls grew among members of the House and Senate to remove monuments to Confederate leaders from hallways and chambers in the U.S. Capitol.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) joined with fellow Democrats in the request, urging House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to support the removal of the “reprehensible” statues.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) pledged Wednesday night to introduce legislation to remove the statues from the Capitol. Each state can pick two statues to display in the Capitol; as a result, monuments to Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee occupy the halls of Congress.

In fact, according to a Washington Post analysis, there are more than three times as many statues of Confederate leaders as there are of black Americans in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection.

A statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith remains on display in the U.S. Capitol.
A statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith remains on display in the U.S. Capitol. Uncredited/AP

A spokesman for Ryan told Politico’s Elana Schor that determining which statues are displayed in Congress is a matter for individual states to decide.

Nationwide, the movement to remove monuments dedicated to Confederate figures has grown in the days following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Mic counts at least 39 movements nationally that have removed or are pushing to remove Confederate monuments on public land in 2017. At least eight monuments have been removed since Saturday’s violence.

For his part, President Donald Trump reiterated his support for preserving the monuments in three Thursday tweets.

“Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” Trump said.