Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for the removal of the 11 Confederate statues from the halls of Congress.

In a letter to the Joint Committee on the Library, a body which oversees the National Statuary Hall collection, she asked Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) — the Chair and Vice Chair of the committee — to direct the Architect of the Capitol to “immediately take steps” to replace the monuments. 

“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,” the letter said.

The R Street Institute and Demand Progress in 2017 recommended in a joint opinion piece that the Joint Committee take the lead in relocating Confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol far from public view, and also that state legislatures be allowed to recommend new representatives of their states, as well. (A route Sen. Blunt’s state is pursuing.) 

“The Confederacy was created, existed and waged war against the United States entirely for the express purpose of preserving slavery. Whatever their personal virtues, it is an affront to all Americans to valorize leading confederates in the capital given the cause that they stood for,” said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute. “This is not about erasing history, it is about honoring those who deserve to be honored rather than those who committed treason against the United States.” 

“The US Capitol must be welcoming to all Americans, so Speaker Pelosi’s request to remove these confederate statues from Public view is an apt symbolic signal that the people’s house belongs to all the people,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director at Demand Progress. “Acting in his capacity and President of the Senate, Mike Pence should join Speaker Pelosi and work for the removal of these disgraceful statues.”