Champaign County Republican Rep. Jim Jordan on Friday announced that he will investigate the District of Columbia’s efforts to rebrand facilities including the Jefferson Memorial whose namesakes a city commission deemed to have “participated in the oppression” of African Americans or other minorities or otherwise “contributed to the nation’s history of systemic racism.”
Jordan, who is top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, joined with the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Kentucky’s James Comer, in a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser. The letter asks Bowser to provide them with documents and communications surrounding the creation of the District of Columbia Facilities and Commemorative Expressions (DCFACES) Working Group and its communications with her office, media enterprises, the Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee, or any other political action committee.
On Tuesday, the DCFACES group released a report that suggests renaming facilities named for historic figures including Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, Alexander Graham Bell and Francis Scott Key and urges Bowser to ask the federal government to “remove, relocate, or contextualize” federal landmarks like the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument as well as federally owned statues of figures like Christopher Columbus.
Bowser, who assembled the working group in July, said its recommendations will guide the city as it strives for a “more inclusive Washington, D.C.” Her press office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on Jordan’s letter.
The letter from Jordan and Comer says they were “shocked and appalled” that the city “would seek to erase the legacy of our nation’s founders and trivialize their contributions to the American experiment.
“You must immediately suspend this dangerous attempt at revising American history and desecrating the memory of our nation’s presidents, war heroes, and visionaries,” their letter continued. It said the monuments “are in place to represent American values and heritage-not simply to reflect your notion of ’contemporary DC values.’ Recommending their removal, relocation, or contextualization is nothing short of an attempt to rewrite the history of our country.”
A statement that Jordan released along with the letter accused Bowser and other Democrats of trying to “cancel” institutions and people “that have made our country great” and suggested that they “spend more time addressing left-wing violence and destruction plaguing their cities, instead of tearing down monuments and renaming buildings honoring America’s heroes.”
The White House greeted the proposal with a statement that accused Bowser of “repeating the same left-wing narrative used to incite dangerous riots: demolishing our history and destroying our great heritage,” and pledged that the recommendations would “go absolutely nowhere” as long as President Donald Trump is in office. It said Trump “believes these places should be preserved, not torn down; respected, not hated; and passed on for generations to come.”
Friday’s letter marks the second time in a week that Jordan and Comer have targeted Bowser. On Wednesday, they sent her a letter that questioned the city’s response to an unruly crowd outside the White House that swarmed Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul last week after Trump’s speech to formally accept the Republican presidential nomination.
It’s also not the first time Jordan has tried to overrule decisions by the District of Columbia. In 2009, he introduced legislation that would have overturned the city’s decision to recognize same-sex unions from other states. Jordan’s legislation didn’t go anywhere, and a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court legalized gay marriage throughout the nation.
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