House speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for 11 Confederate statues to be taken down in the US Capitol, amid a growing campaign across the country to remove symbols of the Confederacy.
Multiple statues of Confederate leaders have been taken down in various states across the US, after protesters graffitied some with the words “Black Lives Matter,” following the death of George Floyd.
Protests have taken place across the US, following the death of Mr Floyd, who died after his neck was knelt on by Derek Chauvin, who at the time was a Minneapolis police officer, but has now been fired and charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.
In a letter to leadership of the Joint Committee on the Library, Ms Pelosi asked for the 11 monuments erected in the Capitol, following the Confederacy’s defeat, to be taken down, as they “pay homage to hate, not heritage.”
Ms Pelosi said: “Let us lead by example. To this end, I request the Joint Committee on the Library direct the Architect of the Capitol to immediately take steps to remove these 11 statues from display in the United States Capitol.”
She added: “They must be removed.”
In her letter to the committee, Ms Pelosi noted that two of the statues in the Capitol “are Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, President and Vice President of the Confederate States of America, respectively, both of whom were charged with treason against the United States.”
Ms Pelosi added: “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 honour across the country.”
The House speaker previously called for the monuments in the Capitol to be taken down in 2017, after a car drove into a crowd of people at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Her attempt was unsuccessful.
A few monuments to Confederate officials have been removed in the last week, and a statue of confederate officer John B Castleman was taken down by the city of Louisville on Monday and moved to Cave Hill Cemetery, where he is buried.
The city’s decision came after a statue of Confederate general, Williams Carter Wickham, was toppled by the public in Richmond, Virginia, and a statue of segregationist mayor Orville Hubbard was removed from the Dearborn Historical Museum in Michigan.
The Marine Corps, who previously announced their intent to ban all images of the Confederate flag from their bases, officially ordered their removal last week.
“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the service branch said in a statement.
“Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag.”
On Monday, the US army announced it is now “open” to the idea of renaming its bases that are named after Confederate leaders, but on Wednesday, president Donald Trump tweeted that he disagreed with the idea.
“It has been suggested that we should rename as many as 10 of our Legendary Military Bases, such as Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Benning in Georgia, etc. These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” the president tweeted.
“The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.
“Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!”