Diaz-Balart, Steube split on vote to remove Capitol Confederate statues; Rooney absent

07-23-20 Robert-E-Lee-statue-capitol-768x557-768x557A statue of Confederate commander Robert E. Lee in the Crypt of the Capitol.  (Photo: Architect of the Capitol)

July 23, 2020 by David Silverberg

Yesterday, July 22, the House of Representatives voted 305 to 113 to remove statues commemorating Confederate figures from the US Capitol.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.) voted for the resolution. Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.) voted against it. Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) was absent.

As of this writing, none of the Southwest Florida members had issued statements on any platform explaining their votes or absences.

The bill, House Resolution (HR) 7573, introduced by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5-Md.), directs the Joint Committee on the Library “to remove all statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederate States of America from display in the United States Capitol” and to replace a bust of Supreme Court Justice Roger Brooke Taney in the Old Supreme Court Chamber with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall. (Taney was the chief justice of the Supreme Court in 1857 when wrote the decision in Dred Scott vs. Sanford  ruling that African Americans were not US citizens.  Thurgood Marshall was the first African American Supreme Court justice.)

There are 11 statues honoring Confederate lawmakers and generals in the Capitol building in addition to the Taney bust.

House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-12-Fla.) spoke on the House floor, saying that “in Congress and in the Country, we must maintain a drumbeat to ensure that this moment of anguish continues to be transformed into action.”

She continued: “As I have said before, the halls of Congress are at the very heart of our democracy.  The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and what we aspire to as a nation.  Monuments to men who advocated barbarism and racism are a grotesque affront to those ideals.  Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage.”

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg


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