GOP lawmaker: Confederate memorial 'should be honored' like MLK memorial


The Confederacy was formed to protect the practice of slavery within the United States.

On Monday, Republican state Rep. Mike Hill from Florida called for protecting and honoring memorials to the pro-slavery Confederacy with the same intensity that memorials to icons like Martin Luther King, Jr. received.

The comment came as the state's House Judiciary Committee was debating a billproposed by Republican state Rep. Spencer Roach, would impose penalties for damage to memorials.

Hill claimed that several citizens came to him to voice their opposition to removing a statue to the Confederacy in Pensacola, Florida.

Hill characterized the memorial as "a way of closing the wound of that painful war, and said, "I believe [the memorial] should be honored just as much as our Vietnam memorial, as our Gen. Chappie James bust, as our Martin Luther King bust.

He was then interrupted by state Rep. Ramon Alexander, a Democrat, who said Hill's comparison was offensive to him.

"I'm offended. I'm so offended. I know I'm out of order, but I'm so offended right now," Alexander said.

Hill has previously spoken out in defense of Confederate memorials. In 2018, he proposed legislation that would prevent communities in Florida from removing the structures.

He told a local paper at the time that tearing down the memorials would "prevent someone from learning the history of why it was there in the first place."

In a campaign ad released in 2018, Hill stood next to a Confederate monument and touted his work "protecting our historical monuments."

Support for Confederate monuments has not been unanimous among Republican leadership in the city.

In 2017, Pensacola's then-mayor, Republican Ashton Hayward, called for the monument's removal.

"The white supremacists, the KKK, and the neo-Nazis, those are unacceptable in our state, country, and community. One of the things that I'm proud of is we've done a great job making Pensacola a diverse community, and symbols of hate are not accepted anywhere," he told the Pensacola News Journal in August of that year.

But the city's current mayor, Republican Grover Robinson, opposes the removal of Confederate monuments. "Personally, I don't think we make our community better by taking things down, but I don't think we need somebody to tell us we can't," he told a local paper.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.