Republican senators on June 23 harshly criticized groups who toppled or defaced statues of former Presidents Ulysses Grant, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.
“A crazy fringe is treating their monuments like vanity statues of tinhorn tyrants. Our Founding Fathers are being roped to the ground like they were Saddam Hussein,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor in Washington.
“There could be no clearer sign that these far-left radicals have severed any connection to the righteous cause of racial justice. Theyve literally tried to succeed where Robert E. Lee failed and bring General Grant to the ground.”
A statue of Grant was among those toppled in San Francisco late June 19.
McConnell described towering figures in American history like Grant, who forced the surrender of the Confederacy, as “imperfect heroes,” while the United States is an “imperfect union” thats “still the great nation in world history.”
While vandals pull down statues of Grant and his peers, a statue of Vladimir Lenin, the former communist leader of the Soviet Union, remains standing, untouched, in Seattle, a city run by Democrats, the senator noted.
“Apparently people claim with a straight face that this communist statue has survived because it is located—wait for it—on private property. So the founding father of the mass-murdering Soviet Union watches over Seattle streets, but our own Founding Fathers are dragged in the dirt,” he said.
Americas past is complex, McConnell said, calling the claim that bigotry is its deepest founding principle, absurd.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), one of three black lawmakers in the Senate, said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on June 23 that he opposes “tearing down history for the sake of anarchy.”
He described the people involved as “not a part of any protest.”
“Theyre simply agitators and simply trying to find their way to create anarchy, chaos, and lawlessness,” he said.
Communities that are the most vulnerable, in a chaotic world, suffer the most, Scott said.
Efforts to remove statues started with those portraying soldiers or others who served in the Confederacy but have quickly moved on to others who had no link with the South.
Scott said America can have a debate over how to rename military bases named after Confederate officers but shouldnt “purge all of history because it was ugly or negative.”