Missouri GOP lawmaker suggests Lincoln Memorial should come down after Robert E. Lee statue is removed in Richmond

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Abraham Lincoln statue at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
The statue of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln sits in the main chamber of the Lincoln Memorial on President's Day, February 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images
  • Missouri State Rep. Tony Lovasco suggested the statue of President Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial should be removed.

  • His comment on Twitter was in response to the removal of a 12-ton statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Virginia.

  • "If we insist on tearing down statues of reprehensible people, let's at least be fair and balanced about it, he said.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A GOP Missouri state representative appeared to suggest the statue of former President Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial should be removed if statues of "reprehensible" people, like Confederate General Robert E. Lee, were taken down.

"If we insist on tearing down statues of reprehensible people, let's at least be fair and balanced about it," Missouri State Rep. Tony Lovasco said in a tweet Thursday. Lovasco attached to the tweet a photo of the statue of Lincoln seen at the forefront of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

The tweet was in a response to a video that showed the large statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee atop a horse being removed in Richmond, Virginia, earlier this week. The 12-ton statue was the largest remaining statue honoring the Confederacy in the US and was ordered removed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, as Insider previously reported.

In the tweet, Lovasco did not explain how or why he viewed Lincoln as "reprehensible." In a follow-up tweet, the GOP state representative responded to critics of his earlier message who said his tweet implied he supported the Confederacy.

"It's unfortunate how many people think saying 'Lincoln was reprehensible' equals some kind of support for the Confederacy, especially given the context of my tweet," Lovasco said, "It's quite possible to point out that neither Lincoln nor Lee were good people deserving of honor."

In a statement to Insider on Saturday, Lovasco said he was not "officially" calling for the removal of the statue of Lincoln and said his tweet was not to be taken as a "serious policy proposal."

"I made a mostly sarcastic comment about it to make the point that while Lee may have been a terrible person (and should be condemned as such), Lincoln was no hero," Lovasco said.

"Lincoln forcibly conscripted people to fight against their will for the Union army, suspended the right of habeas corpus, and was responsible for the needless deaths of thousands of people, including large numbers of Native Americans," he added.

The statue of Lee stood in Richmond for over 130 years and was sent to a state facility to be temporarily stored until officials determined its future. Its removal Wednesday marked the latest instance of officials removing or renaming statues and places that honored the Confederacy or Confederate leaders.

That effort has been spearheaded by anti-racism activists who argue these statues and monuments inappropriately honor the Confederacy. More than 160 Confederate symbols were renamed or removed from public spaces last year, according to a tally by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

"This is an important step in showing who we are and what we value as a commonwealth," Northam said earlier this week.

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