Governor candidate Amanda Chase, other Republicans denounce Robert E. Lee statue removal

Gov. Ralph Northam announced a plan to remove the Richmond statue on Thursday morning

Virginia State Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, listens to debate during the Senate session at the Capitol Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Richmond, Va. The Senate passed several gun related measures. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Steve Helber, Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – Sen. Amanda Chase, who is currently the sole Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, is denouncing the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond.

According to a release from her campaign, Chase voiced her opposition from Richmond’s Monument Avenue on Wednesday.

“Removing the Robert E. Lee statue is a cowardly capitulation to the looters and domestic terrorists,” said Senator Chase. “If the state is unable to defend a monument weighing several tons in a well-lit area, what hope do citizens have of the government protecting their houses and businesses? Instead of appeasing the left-wing mob Northam’s surrender will only lead to future calls to erase Founding Fathers from the public and our history books. Ralph needs to reverse course!”

Chase cited a 2017 exit poll in her release that shows that 57% of Virginians, when given the choice of leaving confederate statues on government property in place or removing them, would choose to leave them in place.

Other Virginia GOP lawmakers are also speaking out against the removal of the statue.

Below is a joint statement from Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr., Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle, Caucus Co-Chairman Mark D. Obenshain, Caucus Whips William M. Stanley, Jr. and Bryce E. Reeves and Republican Leader Pro-Tempore Stephen D. Newman:

“Like all Virginians, we were outraged and deeply saddened by the murder of George Floyd. His brutal and senseless death has shocked the entire nation. We renew our commitment to ensuring our criminal justice is system is fair to all, providing protections to everyone from the unnecessary use of force which ended Mr. Floyd’s life.

“Virginia’s law enforcement professionals place themselves in harm’s way every day, ensuring our neighborhoods, homes, businesses, and streets are safe for all. They have earned and deserve the support of all Virginians, and they most certainly have ours. During these challenging days, they have protected the First Amendment rights of those protesting and strived to prevent escalations that result in the loss of life and property. In our experience, Virginia’s law enforcement professionals are committed to preventing any who employ excessive force from remaining in their ranks, and we support them and stand ready to assist them in those efforts.

“The Governor’s decision to remove the Lee statue from Monument Avenue is not in the best interests of Virginia. Attempts to eradicate instead of contextualizing history invariably fail. And because of this Governor’s personal history, the motivations of this decision will always be suspect. Like Senator Chase’s idiotic, inappropriate and inflammatory response, his decision is more likely to further divide, not unite, Virginians.

“We remain committed to a Virginia that offers opportunity for all, one where racism and bigotry are not tolerated. We stand ready to work on behalf of all Virginians in achieving that ideal.”

About the Author:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a content producer in July 2018.