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Pence says decision on removing Confederate statues should be made locally

Pence says decision on removing Confederate statues should be made locally
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Vice President Pence said the decision to remove Confederate statues should be made at the local level and panned protesters who have dismantled the monuments themselves. 

In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Pence said he “wouldn't begrudge any community or any state to determine what people ought to be remembered and memorialized.”

“Tearing down statues is not protest,” he added of demonstrators who have taken the matter into their own hands. “Engaging in public debate in your community about what appropriate displays are is the American way.”

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Pence’s office did not immediately respond to a request for further comment from The Hill.

The remarks come amid a national reckoning over police brutality and the country’s racist history after the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody in May.

Much of the conversation has centered around statues and monuments of Confederate figures, with Democrats and some Republicans saying they should come down.

However, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE has staked out a firm stance that doing so would be an attempt to reverse the country’s “heritage,” using language often associated with far-right activists.

Among other things, Trump has vowed to veto a critical defense spending bill if it includes an amendment that would change the names of 10 military bases that are named after Confederate figures.

Pence’s less drastic approach could throw a lifeline to congressional Republicans who fear the polarizing issue could diminish their chances of retaking ground in the Democratic-controlled House or protect their majority in the Senate.

“We are now in an era of live grenades lying around. Nobody wants to jump on them,” retiring Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsTrump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback Business groups scramble to forge ties amid race for House Agriculture chair Republicans hold on to competitive Kansas House seat MORE (R-Kan.) told The Hill earlier this month.