Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is rejecting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's demand to remove 11 statutes of historical Confederate figures from the U.S. Capitol, calling it "nonsense" and "a bridge too far."
McConnell's comments to reporters Tuesday comes nearly a week after Pelosi wrote to Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., chairman of the congressional joint committee on the capitol library, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., the vice chair, the statues "must be removed."
"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," said McConnell, who noted several early U.S. presidents owned slaves.
According to History.com, 12 presidents owned slaves including eight while in office.
Pelosi's demand is one of the latest reactions to the death of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. Video of the arrest of George Floyd, who is seen being restrained face down by a white police officer with his knee on Floyd's neck, has sparked riots and protests from many who claim it is an example of systemic racism in law enforcement.
According to Politico, each state has the option to send two statues to be displayed in the Capitol, which can be replaced at any time. Blunt has said seven states are in the process of changing some of the statutes.
Among the 11 statues objected to by Pelosi are ones of Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens, the president and vice president of the Confederacy.
While opposing removing statues, McConnell indicated he would be amenable to renaming U.S. military installations that bear the moniker of a Confederate leader.
However, President Donald Trump has said he was against renaming any military base, creating a potential veto threat of any bill that includes such a provision.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.