Kevin McCarthy wants to withhold federal funds from any state that does not protect statues from protesters. The Republican will offer a bill to give legal effect to his idea.
The House Minority Leader is reacting to recent protests following the death of George Floyd. Demonstrators have targeted several statues, particularly those depicting slaveholders and other racists.
McCarthy framed his bill as forcing states and cities to uphold the law.
“I’ll be introducing legislation to withhold funding from states and cities where leaders fail to uphold the law,” McCarthy said.
“The mobs that Democrats encourage suppress speech and punish those who speak out.”
“Democrats encourage it because they think it is a distraction, that their agenda can skate by unnoticed. They see it as a supplement to the radical movement in the streets.”
The California Republican also took aim at his Democratic colleagues in the House for their apparent failure to denounce protesters targeting statues.
“Unfortunately, though, some on the left encouraged by the silence of Democratic leaders including the Speaker of this House are trying to erase our story, they want to erase our history,” McCarthy said.
“Whether it’s a monument of Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves or four of our greatest, Democrats no longer view the richness of our country’s history worthy.”
“Not only do they want to erase our past, they want to radically change the way we live today. The mobs the Democrats encourage destroy property, they threaten and sometimes even attack innocent citizens.”
McCarthy’s bill is unlikely to succeed in the House, where Democrats control the majority.
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media