Two Democratic senators introduced a bill Thursday aimed at removing Confederate statues from the United States Capitol building.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker introduced the Confederate Monument Removal Act in the Senate, while California Rep. Barbara Lee introduced a similar bill in the House, The Washington Post reports.
“The National Statuary Hall Collection is intended to honor American patriots who served, sacrificed or made tremendous contributions to our nation,” Booker said regarding the bill. “Those who committed treason against the United States of America and led our nation into its most painful and bloody war are not patriots and should not be afforded such a rare honor in this sacred space.”
The National Statuary Hall Collection in the Capitol building currently has 12 Confederate statues of figures like Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, the Confederate states’ president. The Confederate Monument Removal Act would allot 120 days for the removal of all the Confederate statues of those who chose to fight in the Civil War of their own volition. Under the bill, states would be able to take back their statues or they would end up in the Smithsonian.
Booker’s bill comes as cities across the country move to tear down their own Confederate statues after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Baltimore quietly took down four statues in the dead of night earlier in August.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) also came out in support of removing Confederate statues from the building.
“We will never solve America’s race problem if we continue to honor traitors who fought against the United States in order to keep African Americans in chains. By the way, thank god, they lost,” CBC Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond told ABC News in August.
President Donald Trump, however, cautioned against removing the statues, asking where the push to remove them would end.
“George Washington was a slave owner. Was George Washington a slave owner? So will George Washington now lose his status? Are we going to take down — excuse me — are we going to take down — are we going to take down statues to George Washington? What about Thomas Jefferson?” he said at a speech shortly after the Charlottesville riots.
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