As protesters tear down statues of controversial figures, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says he will introduce legislation to punish states that do not protect statues.
During his weekly press briefing on Thursday, McCarthy said, “I’ll be introducing legislation to withhold funding from states and cities where leaders fail to uphold the law.”
McCarthy’s comments come as a series of statues have been torn down. In recent weeks, protesters have torn down or defaced statues of Christopher Columbus, President Ulysses S. Grant, and George Washington. And they tried to tear down a statue of President Andrew Jackson.
“Unfortunately though, some on the left encouraged by the silence in Democratic leaders — including the speaker of this House — are trying to erase our story,” McCarthy said.
He continued, “Whether it is a monument of Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves or four of our greatest presidents, Democrats no longer view the richness of our country’s history worthy.”
McCarthy claimed that Democrats want to erase the past and “radically change the way we live today.”
“The mobs that Democrats encourage suppress speech and punish those who speak out. Democrats encourage it because they think it is a distraction. That their agenda can skate by unnoticed, they see it as a supplement to the radical movement in the streets,” he charged.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly argued that local governments must protect statues and recently signed an executive order to force cities to protect them.
While Republicans have decried the desecration of statues, their Democratic colleagues have argued there are more pressing matters to attend to.
After McCarthy released a statement criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for not condemning the removal of statues, she said, “I’m trying to save the world from coronavirus.”
“I have no interest in about McCarthy, who hasn’t had the faintest idea of our dynamic in our district,” she added.
“I think with regard to those statues and monuments like the Jefferson Memorial, I think there’s an obligation that the government protect those monuments. Because they’re different … that’s a remembrance. It is not dealing with revering somebody who had that view,” Biden said.
He added, “For example, taking down, toppling Christopher Columbus statues or George Washington statues, et cetera, I think that is something that the government has an opportunity and responsibility to protect from happening.”