House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Thursday that four portraits of former speakers who served in the Confederacy — all Democrats — will be removed on Juneteenth, telling reporters that there is “no room” to “memorialize people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy” in the U.S. Capitol.
“Tomorrow is Juneteenth, a day that we observe as a day of freedom in our country. It was a day that people in the West found out about the Emancipation Proclamation,” Pelosi said during a Thursday press conference.
“In observance of that, I’ve sent a letter … to the clerk of the House directing the clerk to remove portraits of four previous speakers of the house who served in the Confederacy,” she continued:
We didn’t know about this until we were taking inventory of the statues and the curator told us that there were four paintings of speakers in the Capitol of the United States, four speakers who served in the Confederacy. So tomorrow, Juneteenth, the clerk will oversee removal of those Confederate speakers.
Pelosi added that there is “no room in hallowed halls of democracy, this temple of democracy, to memorialize people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy.”
The speaker formally made the request in a letter to House Clerk Cheryl Johnson, requesting the “immediate removal of the portraits in the U.S. Capitol of four previous Speakers who served in the Confederacy: Robert Hunter of Virginia (1839-1841), Howell Cobb of Georgia (1849-1851), James Orr of South Carolina (1857-1859), and Charles Crisp of Georgia (1891-1895)” — all of whom were once members of Pelosi’s very own party.
“The portraits of these men are symbols that set back our nation’s work to confront and combat bigotry,” Pelosi added.
“You have to see the remarks that they had made and how oblivious they were to what our founders had in mind in our country. We must lead by example, so we’re glad that that is gone,” she added:
Pelosi has, however, largely failed to lead by example in condemning the actions of her late father, who oversaw the dedication of a Confederate statue — the Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee Monument — in Baltimore’s Wyman Park while serving as the city’s mayor in 1948.
As Breitbart News detailed:
At the time, the speaker’s father said people could look to Jackson’s and Lee’s lives as inspiration and urged Americans to “emulate Jackson’s example and stand like a stone wall against aggression in any form that would seek to destroy the liberty of the world.”
“World Wars I and II found the North and South fighting for a common cause, and the generalship and military science displayed by these two great men in the War between the States lived on and were applied in the military plans of our nation in Europe and the Pacific areas,” D’Alesandro said at the dedication ceremony, as detailed by the Baltimore Sun. He continued:
“Today with our nation beset by subversive groups and propaganda which seeks to destroy our national unity, we can look for inspiration to the lives of Lee and Jackson to remind us to be resolute and determined in preserving our sacred institutions … remain steadfast in our determination to preserve freedom, not only for ourselves, but for other liberty-loving nations who are striving to preserve their national unity as free nations.”
The Baltimore city council opted to remove the statue in 2017. Pelosi’s office did not respond to Breitbart News’s request for comments on the her father’s remarks on the Confederate monument.
The speaker has also requested the removal of Confederate statues at the Capitol, describing them as “monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end.”
“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 places of honor across the country,” the speaker said in a letter to the Joint Committee on the Library.
“The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” Pelosi added. “Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals.”