House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding that statues of Confederate figures such as Jefferson Davis be removed from the US Capitol, the AP reports. In a letter, Pelosi told a House-Senate committee with jurisdiction over the controversial topic that Confederate statues “pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.” The California Democrat made the announcement on the very day President Trump vowed on Twitter that he would not rename military bases honoring Confederate generals. Only a short time before Pelosi's statement, NASCAR announced it would ban displays of the Confederate flag at its races. And on Wednesday night, protesters in Virginia toppled a statue of Davis. "Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to [American] ideals," Pelosi wrote.
Pelosi lacks the authority to order the removal of the 11 Capitol statues honoring Confederates but is urging the little-noticed Joint Committee on the Library to vote to remove them. Senate Republicans share jurisdiction. The presence of statues of generals and other figures of the Confederacy in Capitol locations such as Statuary Hall—the original House chamber—has been offensive to African American lawmakers for many years. But the chairman of the Library Committee noted "the law does not permit the Architect of the Capitol or the Joint Committee of Congress on the Library to remove a statue from the Capitol once it has been received." States determine which of their historical figures to display at the Capitol.
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