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Nearly 90% of House Republicans voted to restore a Confederate memorial at Arlington National Cemetery

John L. Dorman   

Nearly 90% of House Republicans voted to restore a Confederate memorial at Arlington National Cemetery
  • House Republicans overwhelmingly sought to restore a Confederate memorial to Arlington Cemetery.
  • But the measure failed as 24 Republicans joined every Democratic lawmaker in rejecting the effort.

House Republicans were unsuccessful in their effort to reinstall a Confederate memorial to Arlington National Cemetery after two dozen members joined Democrats in rejecting the measure.

The amendment was backed by 192 Republicans — or nearly 90% of the House GOP — while 24 Republican lawmakers rejected the measure.

Supporters of the amendment included Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, and House Republican Conference chair Elise Stefanik of New York.

Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida — a high-profile Black conservative who earlier this month argued that "the Black family was together" during the Jim Crow era — voted for the amendment. Reps. Wesley Hunt of Texas and Burgess Owens of Utah, two other prominent Black conservatives on Capitol Hill, also supported it.

The amendment, authored by GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, was part of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act.

No Democratic lawmaker voted in favor of restoring the memorial.

Last December, the memorial was removed from Arlington National Cemetery as part of a push to rethink military installations named after Civil War-era Confederate leaders.

The removed memorial is a 32-foot bronze statue that includes imagery of an enslaved Black woman — which the cemetery website said was a depiction of a "Mammy" carrying the infant child of a White Confederate officer — along with an enslaved Black man who is following his Confederate owner to the battlefield.

The memorial, designed by the sculptor and Confederate veteran Moses Jacob Ezekiel, was placed in the cemetery in 1914 — nearly 50 years after the end of the Civil War.

The depiction of "Black Mammies" was a stereotypical one, where enslaved Black women were depicted as being content with their predicament.

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York on Friday blasted the GOP lawmakers who supported the amendment.

"What tradition are extreme MAGA Republicans … upholding? What Confederate tradition are you upholding? Is it slavery? Rape? Kidnap? Jim Crow? Lynching? Racial oppression? Or all of the above?" he said during a Capitol Hill press conference.

The current debate comes four years after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the following national racial reckoning. Protests against racial injustice swept the country at the time, and many lawmakers sought to shepherd through reforms aimed at tackling racial discrimination and disparities in everything from health care to education.

But many Republicans in the intervening years have pushed back against the mostly Democratic efforts to remedy past racial discrimination, buoyed by former President Donald Trump's campaign and the Supreme Court's 2023 ruling that effectively ended affirmative action in college admissions.




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