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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to the chairs of the Joint Committee on the Library on Wednesday requesting that the panel remove 11 Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol's National Statuary Hall collection.

The latest: Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), the vice chair of the Joint Committee on the Library, responded in a statement that she agrees that "these symbols of cruelty and bigotry" be "expediently" removed from the halls of the Capitol.

  • Committee chairman Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in a statement Thursday: “Under the law, each state decides which two statues it will send to the Capitol. Several states have moved toward replacing statues and others appear headed in the same direction. This process is ongoing and encouraging.
  • "As Speaker Pelosi is undoubtedly aware, 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.”

Why it matters: Pelosi's request comes as Black Lives Matter protests have sparked the removal of Confederate monuments across the nation and renewed a debate about the place of Confederate iconography in U.S. institutions. President Trump said earlier Wednesday that he would "not even consider" renaming military bases named for Confederate leaders.

What they're saying:

“[T]he halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy.  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.  Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals.  Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage.  They must be removed.”
“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.”
— Speaker Pelosi

Go deeper

Sen. Duckworth: "We should listen to the argument" on removing Washington statues

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that "we should listen to the argument" for removing George Washington statues.

Why it matters: Statues of Confederate soldiers and historical figures who were slave owners have been a flashpoint in the protests against racism and police brutality. President Trump has taken to defending the monuments — a stance highlighted by his Mount Rushmore speech on Friday.

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