Gov. Roy Cooper: Confederate monuments 'should come down'

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Gov. Roy Cooper says it's time for monuments to come down
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Gov. Roy Cooper took a stronger stance Tuesday against the state's many Confederate monuments.

RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Writing in an article on the website, Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday, "It's time to move forward. These monuments should come down." He later released a video message.

The governor wrote:

"Some people cling to the belief that the Civil War was fought over states' rights. But history is not on their side. We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down."

Read more of the article here.

His comments come a day after protesters in Durham pulled down a Confederate statue in front of the Old Courthouse. The governor condemned the move, tweeting: "The racism and deadly violence in Charlottesville is unacceptable but there is a better way to remove these monuments #durham - RC."

Cooper was roundly panned on social media for that message, and Tuesday, Cooper appeared to try to take a stronger position on the issue.

One Republican lawmaker wasn't buying it.

"Cooper is a politician and this is all part of his weak response to the mob we saw in Durham," said Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford. "He must think it's all right. What he said was incredibly weak and it's all to mollify his left-wing base."

NC Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin supported Cooper's position.

"Our state cannot move forward together until we face our past. A growing chorus of civil rights and religious leaders, activists, and elected officials, including Governor Cooper, are right to do just that," Goodwin said. "Only through removing these monuments will our state begin to heal the sores of war. I ask that Republicans join with Democrats and concerned citizens in allowing communities to remove symbols of hate and racism. Morality and decency and respect, not politics, demand it."


In the op-ed Cooper called on lawmakers to repeal a 2015 law that prohibits municipalities from removing Confederate monuments.

A 2015 law passed by the General Assembly and signed by then-Governor Pat McCrory makes it illegal to remove "an event, person or military service that is part of North Carolina's history" without permission from the N.C. Historical Commission.

The law passed over the objections of Democrats wanted local officials and the North Carolina Historical Commission to have authority over such monuments. Republican supporters said they wanted to protect history.

READ MORE: In North Carolina, local officials can't remove Confederate memorials

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