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Brooks defends states with Confederate statues in U.S. Capitol’s statuary collection

A flag flies outside the U.S. Capitol Building. (STOCK PHOTO)

Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said he will vote against H.R. 7573, a Democrat-sponsored bill to remove “undesirable” statues from the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Collection has 100 statues including two from each state.

“The 1864 law establishing the National Statuary Collection provides that each state may ‘furnish statues … of deceased persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious for their historic renown or for distinguished civic or military services such as each State may deem to be worthy of this national commemoration,’” Brooks said.

Alabama’s two statutes in the collection are Helen Keller and Confederate general Joe Wheeler, the only Confederate general to later become a United States general. Wheeler oversaw Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders’ charge up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.

Alabama also has a third statute honoring Civil Rights leader Rosa Parks. Both the Wheeler and Parks statutes are currently in places of prominence in the Old House Chamber, now known as Statuary Hall. The Keller statue is prominently honored and displayed in the Capitol Visitor’s Center.

“The 1864 law clearly defers to states the power to determine who they wish to honor. And that makes perfect sense. Just as it would be wrong for Alabama and other states to dictate to New York and California who they must honor, it is similarly wrong and repulsive for New York, California, or other states to dictate to Alabama who we must honor. Yet H.R. 7573 seeks to do exactly that by empowering other states to dictate to a single state who that state can, or cannot, honor.”

In recent months, Confederate statues have come under renewed criticism following the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis. In Alabama, several cities and the University of Alabama have removed Confederate monuments from places of prominence.

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Brooks claimed the decisions to remove Confederate monuments from places of prominence are actually revisionist history.

“Sadly, Socialist Democrats in the U.S. House are actively embracing fascism, socialism, and revisionism. In their minds, historical figures like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson (all honored at Mount Rushmore) must be erased because each of these brave American leaders stood for liberty and freedom, the exact opposite of the socialism and fascism so many in Congress now mindlessly advocate as they seek to stifle competing views, political philosophies, and ways of life they disagree with and seek to destroy,” Brooks said.

“I reject cancel culture, historical revisionism, socialism, and fascism. I support freedom and liberty. I support federalism and a state’s right to decide for itself who it should honor. As such, I will proudly vote ‘No’ on H.R. 7573. Alabama, not New Yorkers, Californians, or anyone else, should decide who we wish to honor in Alabama’s contribution to the National Statuary Collection. Socialist Democrat states should butt out,” Brooks said.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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