In response to the destruction of national monuments and statues across the country, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy introduced a bill that will stop federal funding to state and local governments that do not protect their monuments. While President Trump signed an executive order to protect statues and monuments in DC, the highest ranking Republican member in the House wants to take this same action to the entire country, sending a clear message that the type of pressure from protestors.
The “Protect America’s Statues Act of 2020,” McCarthy said, “has real consequences for states and cities: no order, no funding. It is time to respect our laws, protect our history, and punish the statue smashers.” McCarthy said that while statues of General Grant, St. Serra, Christopher Columbus, and abolitionists are being destroyed, “this is lawlessness in its purest and most unacceptable form.”
While statues of confederate leaders have initially been targeted, the list has grown much longer at the demands of protestors in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Protestors pulled down a Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore’s inner city harbor, and a statue of George Washington was torn down in Portland, Oregon. Many lawmakers have come out against the decision to destroy some of the key figures in our nation’s history, but Democrats have sided with the protestors decision. In particular, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in response to Columbus being thrown in the harbor, “I do think that from a safety standpoint, it would be a good idea to have it taken down if the community doesn’t want it.”
McCarthy’s bill will put pressure on state and local leaders to prevent the movement to tear down statues, saying “it is wrong to erase our history.” Lawmakers who agree with McCarthy believe the problem is that once you rewrite the past, you potentially relive it.