WASHINGTON — Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, called on Thursday for the removal of Confederate statues from the United States Capitol, opening a new front in the debate ignited by the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend.
“The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible,” Ms. Pelosi said, putting pressure on the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, to act..
“If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy,” Ms. Pelosi added, “I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately.”
The fate of Confederate monuments has been the focus of attention around the country after a violent white nationalist rally last weekend in Charlottesville. President Trump has added fuel to that debate, writing on Twitter on Thursday that it was “sad” to see the country’s history being torn apart by the removal of “our beautiful statues and monuments.”
Ms. Pelosi’s statement came after Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey, said on Wednesday night that he would introduce legislation to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol building.
“This is just one step,” Mr. Booker wrote on Twitter. “We have much work to do.”