Ralph Northam’s “apology tour” continues in earnest, this time sticking Virginia taxpayers to the tune of $500,000 to replace a statue of General Robert E. Lee.
Earlier this week, Virginia removed its statue of Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol. The statue, one of two allotted to the Commonwealth, will be replaced by Barbara Rose Johns, a Virginia civil rights activist during the Massive Resistance era. She’ll join George Washington, Virginia’s other honoree, in the United States Capitol building as soon as the new statue has been commissioned and erected, at a cost of $500,000 to Virginia taxpayers.
Governor Ralph Northam announced the removal on Monday, calling it “an important step forward.” This news follows the release of Northam’s budget proposal which included $25 Million toward “transforming historic sites” including a plan to “reimagine” Monument Avenue at an $11 Million cost to the taxpayers. Considering the wider economic situation, that’s a staggering amount of money to spend on aesthetic changes to government property.
This is money that won’t be going to sorely needed economic relief or towards the infrastructure needed to safely reopen our shuttered public schools.
With the economy shut down, businesses closed, and unemployment at record highs, the man who definitely wore blackface and probably dressed in Klan robes wants to lecture us on racism and use our money to tear down historical monuments at a time when all of us are pinching pennies.
Northam’s priorities have consistently been out of step with those of ordinary Virginians and this new project is no different.
Most ironic about the selection of Lee’s replacement, Barbara Rose Johns was vehemently opposed by then-Senator and Democrat Harry Flood Byrd, the arch segregationist and architect of Massive Resistance in Virginia. Byrd’s statue ominously remains in Capitol Square, with neither Democrats nor BLM/Antifa protesters calling to remove the statue.