Pelosi says portraits of four former House speakers in Confederacy will be removed from Capitol Hill

Three of the portraits are of former House speakers from the Democratic Party and the other from the Whig Party who later joined the Democratic Party

Updated: June 18, 2020 - 4:34pm

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the portraits of four former House speakers with ties to the Confederacy will be removed from the Capitol building.

The portraits are of Robert Hunter from Virginia, who was a member of the Whig Party as speaker and was later elected as a Democratic U.S. senator; Howell Cobb, of Georgia, from the Democratic Party; James Orr, of South Carolina, from the Democratic Party; and Charles Crisp, of Georgia, a member of the Democratic Party.

Pelosi wrote to Cheryl L. Johnson, clerk of the House, to "request the immediate removal of the portraits in the U.S. Capitol of four previous Speakers who served in the Confederacy."

During a press briefing, Pelosi said the clerk will remove the portraits.

"We didn't know about this until we were taking inventory of the statues and the curator told us that there were four paintings of speakers in the Capitol of the United States – four speakers who had served in the Confederacy. So tomorrow, Juneteenth, the clerk will oversee removal of those Confederate speakers," she said. "There's no room in the hallowed halls of this democracy, this temple of democracy to memorialize people who embodied violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy."

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. on June 19, 1865 when slaves were freed in Texas.