Lawmakers in Virginia have elected to remove a number of busts commemorating Confederate soldiers, including General Robert E. Lee. On Friday, Democratic speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Eileen Filler-Corn issued a statement indicating that the Confederate artifacts were removed the night before.
The statues resided in the building's old House chamber, which the body used until 1904, and has since been turned into a museum. "Virginia has a story to tell that extends far beyond glorifying the Confederacy and its participants," Filler-Corn said, according to CNN. Eight busts were removed in total, including Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy. There's still no plan for what will come of the statues in the meantime, though Filler-Corn indicated that a newly formed advisory group will "provide analysis" to her with a recommendation.
The decision in Virginia comes as a number of state and local governments have begun taking similar measures, which comes after weeks of civil rights protests across the U.S. The biggest, at least so far, happened on Wednesday when the House of Representatives voted to remove all statues of Confederate soldiers, as well as some past lawmakers who adamantly pro-slavery and pro-segregation. Although before any action is taken, it would need to pass the GOP-controlled Senate, as well as signed by President Donald Trump, both of which could be unlikely.
Trump has been outspoken about changes, including one made by the U.S. Military, which banned the display of Confederate flags on any bases. "I'm supposed to make the decision," Trump told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace in an event-filled interview on Sunday. "Fort Bragg is a big deal. We won two World Wars. No one even knows General Bragg. We won two World Wars. Go to that community where Fort Bragg is, in a great state, I love that state, go to the community, say how do you like the idea of renaming Fort Bragg, and then what are we going to name it? We're going to name it after the Rev. Al Sharpton? What are you going to name it, Chris, tell me what you're going to name it?"
Sharpton, incidentally, responded to Trump's remarks just hours later to TMZ. "The only way it makes sense, and it's hard to make sense of a non-sensible person, is that I've been very public in advocating the changing of the names of these bases and bringing down the statues of Confederate generals," Sharpton said.