Pelosi: Democrats might propose bill renaming military bases and removing Confederate statues

Pelosi says Confederate leaders honored by Hill statues and military bases are 'white supremacists'

Updated: June 12, 2020 - 12:21pm

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she would consider supporting legislation to require renaming military bases named after Confederates leaders.

“We'll see. That may require legislation but I want to tell you something. The American people know, these names have to go. These names are white supremacists that said terrible things about our country,” Pelosi said during a press conference.

“This is like over 100 years after World War II – some of these names were given to these bases. And they, you listen to who they are and what they said. And then you have the president make a case as to why a base should be named for them. He seems to be the only person left who doesn't get it,” she also said, referring to Trump’s opposition to renaming the bases.

Trump tweeted on Wednesday that the bases are part of America’s heritage.

Pelosi also said congressional leaders might combine the statue removal with the renaming of military bases as part of the National Defense Authorization Act or as standalone legislation.

“I don't know if it will be in the [defense] bill. We may have free standing — it may be combined with statues in the Capitol, I don't know, because that will be up to the makers of the motion to suggest how they would like to proceed,” she said. “But these names have to go from these bases. And these statues have to go from the Capitol.”

Pelosi told reporters that the Capitol Building’s Confederate statues weren’t removed during her two tenures as speaker because she didn’t have the authority.

“Let me just say that when I was speaker, I did do what I had the authority to do, which was to relegate Robert E. Lee to the crypt. And I could move things around but couldn't actually take them out,” Pelosi said during a press conference. “That requires something else and that's why I wrote the letter.”

Pelosi wrote a letter to the Joint Committee on the Library in the House and Senate requesting 11 Confederate statues be removed.

“Jefferson Davis, Alexander Stephens, treason, committed treason against the United States of America and their statues are still here because their states put them here,” Pelosi also said Thursday. “I do believe that the committees have the jurisdiction to move these statues but we also have legislation.”

Pelosi mentioned a bill introduced by Democratic Reps. Barbara Lee and Bennie Thompson, the chairman of Homeland Security Committee, that “would get rid of" the 11 statues that "we have our eye on.”

“It may take legislation or action by the rules committee,” she said. “Believe me if I had more authority, you'd have fewer of those statues around.”