Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she wants to remove 11 Confederate monuments from the U.S. Capitol. It turned out that nine of the 11 Confederate-linked statues that Pelosi wants to be removed were Democrats.
Now, Pelosi wants to remove portraits of previous House Speakers who also served in the Confederacy from the Capitol. All of the past Confederate members in the portraits were Democrats.
On Thursday, Pelosi ordered the removal of four portraits in the Capitol. Pelosi wrote to the Joint Committee on the Library, which manages Capitol displays and statues. The order came the day before Juneteenth, the holiday that marks the end of slavery in the United States, Pelosi requested the "immediate removal" of four portraits.
"Our Congressional community has the sacred opportunity and obligation to make meaningful change to ensure that the halls of Congress reflect our highest ideals as Americans. Let us lead by example," Pelosi wrote in the letter to House clerk Cheryl Johnson.
"Very sadly, this day comes during a moment of extraordinary national anguish, as we grieve for the hundreds of Black Americans killed by racial injustice and police brutality, including George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others," Pelosi said.
"We didn't know about this until we were taking inventory of the statues and the curator told us that there were four paintings of Speakers in the Capitol of the United States, four Speakers who had served in the Confederacy," Pelosi told reporters on Friday.
Pelosi wants to remove the portraits of Robert Hunter of Virginia, Howell Cobb of Georgia, James Orr of South Carolina, and Charles Crisp of Georgia.
- Robert Hunter (D): United States Representative Speaker of the House from 1839 until 1841, and U.S. Senator from 1847 to 1861, Confederate States Secretary of State between 1861 and 1862, as well as a Confederate Senator from 1862 to 1865.
- Howell Cobb (D): United States House of Representatives and Speaker of the House from 1849 to 1851, governor of Georgia from 1851 to 1853, Secretary of the Treasury under President James Buchanan from 1857 to 1860, and president of the Confederacy's provisional Congress.
- James Orr (D): Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1857 to 1859, governor of South Carolina from 1865 to 1868, United States Ambassador to Russia from 1872 from 1873, and senator for the Confederacy.
- Charles Crisp (D): United States Speaker of the House between 1891 and 1895, and was a lieutenant in the Confederate Army.
Last week, Pelosi explained why she wanted to remove the statues from the Capitol.
"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," Pelosi wrote. "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."