Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed calls from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats this week to remove nearly a dozen Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.
While speaking to reporters, McConnell was asked about Pelosi recently calling for the Confederate statues to be removed, contending that they “pay homage to hate, not heritage.”
McConnell pushed back against her request.
“What I do think is clearly a bridge too far is this nonsense that we need to airbrush the Capitol and scrub out everybody from years ago who had any connection to slavery,” McConnell, reported The Hill.
“You know, there were eight presidents who owned slaves. Washington did. Jefferson did. Madison did. Monroe did. Look, as far as the statues are concerned, every state gets two [statues]. Any state can trade out, as Sen. [Roy] Blunt (R-Mo.) pointed out, if they choose to. And some actually are choosing to,” he added.
Here’s more from the Epoch Times:
Each of the 50 U.S. states contributes two statues to a collection of statues throughout the various quarters of the Capitol complex, which can be switched out if approved by the given state’s legislature and governor.
Among the statues are 11 that show Confederate figures—soldiers and officers who served in the Confederate Army—which lost in the U.S. Civil War. They include statues of Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, who were president and vice president of the Confederacy.
Blunt, who chairs the Senate Rules Committee and the Joint Committee on the Library, said that seven states are removing certain statues from the Capitol.
Last week, the Republican-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee voted to require the Pentagon to rename military bases and other assets named after Confederate generals.
NASCAR also announced last week that it had banned the Confederate flag from all events and properties.
In a lengthy statement detailing the move, NASCAR said it was banning the Confederate flag from its races and properties, distancing itself from what some are calling a symbol of slavery and racism.
The flag “had been a familiar sight at stock car events for more than 70 years,” the Associated Press reported, adding that the change has resulted in major blowback.
The move came after the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis.
Protests and riots have taken place across the nation for weeks and Confederate monuments are being taken down across the country.
President Donald Trump called to preserve Confederate heritage, saying he won’t consider renaming military bases named for Confederate generals.
“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,” Trump tweeted. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”