Jun 11, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell says it's up to states to remove Confederate statues in the Capitol

McConnell
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Thursday that it should be left up to the states to decide whether to keep or remove their Confederate statues in the Capitol building.

Why it matters: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to the Joint Committee on the Library's leadership on Wednesday asking that they "immediately take steps" to remove 11 Confederate monuments from the Capitol's National Statuary Hall collection, as a nationwide movement against Confederate iconography continues in the wake of anti-racism protests.

  • McConnell noted that every state is allowed two statues and that it's up to them whether to trade them out: "I think the appropriate way to deal with this issue is to stick with the tradition."
  • "A number of states are trading them out now, but I think that’s the appropriate way to deal with the statue issue," he added. "The states make that decision."

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who chairs the Library Committee, told reporters on Thursday that Congress would have to change the law in order to control what statues states show in the Capitol, per Politico.

  • "The Congress could change any law they want to. If they want to change a law and say, 'No we’re now going to decide what statues states can have,' they can certainly do that," he said.
  • "There’s no authority to move statues out of the Capitol short of that."
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