House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of Confederate statues at the U.S. Capitol but has remained silent on her father’s role in the dedication of memorials dedicated to Confederate figures.
The California Democratrequestedthis week the removal of 11 Confederate statues in the Capitol following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on Memorial Day after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes despite his pleas for air.
“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy,” Pelosi said in a letter to a congressional panel. “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.”
Some media outlets,includingBreitbart News, are reporting that Pelosi has remained silent on her own father’s decision to dedicate a Confederate statue during his time as mayor of Baltimore.
Pelosi’s father, Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., oversaw the dedication of a monument to Confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee when he was Baltimore’s mayor in 1948, saying at the time that people should be inspired by the two generals and should try 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 Jr. said at the time.
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 statue D’Alesandro Jr. dedicated was removed by Baltimore officials in 2017.
When asked in 2017 about why shedidn’t push to remove 10 Confederate statues, Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, said, “Reminder: As Speaker, Pelosi moved statue of Robert E. Lee from National Statuary Hall in US Capitol to the basement.”
Calls to remove Confederate statues haveintensifiedacross the country following the death of Floyd and a push to remove Confederate flags inMississippiand at NASCARraces.