Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said he would not support the removal of the Confederate soldiers monument in front of the Galveston County courthouse on 21st Street.
“I would not support removing it,” Henry said Wednesday. “Where does this end? Today they’re offended by these statues. Tomorrow they’re offended by something else. Where’s the end of this?”
“Dignified Resignation” depicts a man holding a Confederate flag over his left shoulder and a broken sword in his right hand. Behind him is a dismantled cannon. At his feet is a scroll that states: “GLORY TO THE DEFEATED.”
A plaque on the statue reads, “There has never been an armed force which in purity of motives, intensity of courage and heroism has equaled the Army and Navy of the Confederate States of America.”
Henry said he believes the statue represents history and would not support tearing it down.
“I’ve heard from dozens of people that say ‘don’t you dare take it down,’” Henry said. “I’ve not heard from a single group that wants to take it down.”
Cities around the country have wrestled with questions about whether to remove Confederate monuments in recent years. The movement gained traction after the 2015 murder of nine people in a black church in Charleston, S.C.
The events in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend began with a rally that was ostensibly about preserving a monument to Confederate general Robert E. Lee at the University of Virginia.
This week, some cities have removed Confederate monuments. City officials in Baltimore took down four statues Tuesday night. Gainesville, Fla., and Lexington, Ky., announced plans to move forward with removals this weekend.
On Wednesday afternoon, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner ordered a review of Confederate statues in that city, and asked for recommendations about what to do with them.
A group of protesters took it upon themselves to tear down a Confederate monument in Durham, N.C., on Monday. Henry said that if anyone did that in Galveston, he’d hope they’d be arrested.
“If they came and tore it down, they’re destroying government property and I hope the sheriff would arrest them,” Henry said.
There are more than 700 monuments to the Confederacy in public places around the nation. Most of the them are in the South.
“Dignified Resignation” was erected in 1911, decades after the end of the Civil War but in the same era when many other Confederate monuments were built.
Reacting to Charlottesville
Over the past several days, members of Congress have come out to mostly condemn what happened in Charlottesville and the hate groups associated with it.
Sen. Ted Cruz had one of the strongest responses. In a Facebook post, Cruz called for the Justice Department to investigate the “domestic terrorism” that led to the death of counter protester Heather Heyer.
“The Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacists are repulsive and evil, and all of us have a moral obligation to speak out against the lies, bigotry, anti-Semitism and hatred that they propagate,” Cruz wrote.
Sen. John Cornyn tweeted that there was “No place for the bigotry & hate-filled violence in #Charlottesville. These actions should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”
Both senators’ comments came before President Donald Trump on Monday specifically condemned the KKK and other hate groups.
Cornyn and Cruz have not issued public statements since the Tuesday news conference during which Trump said there was “blame on both sides” for what happened.
U.S. Rep. Randy Weber issued his first statement about Charlottesville on Wednesday afternoon.
“I adamantly condemn the violence by the white supremacist movement, period,” Weber said in a Facebook post. “The actions that unfolded over the past few days are contrary to everything for which our country stands. Violence and hate of any kind cannot be tolerated, ignored or explained away, especially when it is against a race, religion or profession.”
Speaking of … Lithuania?
Twelve members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, sent a letter to Lithuania’s president July 28, decrying the country’s plans to build a convention center on a sacred Jewish site.
The Snipisek Jewish Cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, was mostly destroyed while the country was occupied by German and Russian forces during and after World War II. Jewish groups have sought to preserve the site for decades, calling it one of the last remnants of the city’s Jewish community. Vilnius is Lithuania’s capital and largest city.
“The cemetery is a historical site of enormous cultural significance, both locally and to the worldwide community interested in its preservation,” the letter states. “It should be treated with dignity and respect.”
The games begin?
Mayes Middleton, a Republican running against State Rep. Wayne Faircloth in next year’s primary election for House District 23, hasn’t said much publicly about his opponent since declaring for the race earlier this year. That changed last night, when Middleton tweeted about Faircloth.
“Why does Wayne support Speaker who single-handedly killed Gov. Abbott’s conservative agenda and hurts the taxpayers of Chambers/Galveston?,” Middleton wrote about Faircloth and Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus.
The shot aligns with far-right conservatives in the House of Representatives, who were critical of Straus over his refusal to move ahead with some of the most conservative pieces of legislation offered during the session: including a bathroom bill and new limitations on property taxes.
The House Republican Caucus met privately Wednesday, reportedly to consider how to change rules about electing speakers. The caucus did not end up changing any bylaws Wednesday.
A federal court in San Antonio ruled Tuesday that two Texas Congressional Districts are unconstitutional. One is Congressional District 27, represented by U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Corpus Christi Republican. The districts will be redrawn — although what the new lines will be and who will draw them remains to be seen.
The district is adjacent to Congressional District 14, which includes Galveston County. (In fact, parts of CD-27 were once part of the same district as Galveston.) The court asked parties involved in the decision to consult with experts to “minimize the effect on adjoining districts.”
In a statement after the ruling, Texas Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton said he intended to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz helped write an amicus brief defending a Texas plan to defund Planned Parenthood by eliminating Medicaid reimbursements to the nonprofit. The brief is signed by 42 members of Congress, including Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Randy Weber. … Galveston County Tax Assessor/Collector Cheryl Johnson sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday, asking him to call a second special session on property tax reform. … U.S. Rep. Randy Weber will hold a meet-and-greet event in Galveston County on Aug. 26. The “Kolaches with the Congressman” event will be 9 a.m. at the Galveston County Annex Building, 174 Calder Road in League City. Sign up details are on Weber’s website, weber.house.gov. … Galveston District 1 Councilwoman Amy Bly confirmed to The Daily News Wednesday that she plans to run for a second term.