Dem lawmaker, ex-congressman father speak out against statue of George HW Bush at historically black college

Dem lawmaker, ex-congressman father speak out against statue of George HW Bush at historically black college
© Greg Nash

Rep. William Lacy ClayWilliam (Lacy) Lacy ClayDivided Dems look to regroup John Lewis is endorsement every Dem candidate wants Endorsements? Biden can't count on a flood from the Senate MORE (D-Mo.) and his father, former Rep. Bill Clay, are speaking out against Hampton University’s recent campus addition of a statue of President George H.W. Bush.

The Clays are asking the Congressional Black Caucus to formally oppose the statue of the late president on the historically black university's campus, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

Clay Jr. told the Post-Dispatch in an interview that Bush’s legacy “really damaged the African American community,” citing his record on civil rights and his appointment of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court following "a giant like" Thurgood Marshall.

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"When you think about the legacy of President George H. W. Bush it is not one that you can hold up as someone who believed in equal justice for all," the St. Louis Democrat said.

The older Clay, who helped found the Congressional Black Caucus, penned a letter to Hampton University calling out what he called Bush’s “paradoxical conflict of duplicity in matters of race.”

“He steadfastly and vigorously opposed any specific proposal to ameliorate the inequitable, bigoted treatment of black citizens,” Clay Sr. wrote, according to Roll Call.

Rep. William Lacy Clay presented the letter to the CBC on Wednesday, according to the reports.

Hampton University unveiled the statue last weekend as part of its Legacy Park, according to a release that cites Bush’s “long-standing support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities over his career” and his founding of the United Negro College Fund chapter at Yale University. Bush gave the 1991 commencement address at Hampton University.

"President Bush was not only a good friend of mine, but he was an extraordinary person who believed it was crucial that African Americans have access to education," university president William Harvey said in December. "I think that's something that we must acknowledge."

Other figures honored with statues in Legacy Park include former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Trump hits Romney for Mueller criticism Former Bush assistant: Mueller report makes Obama look 'just plain bad' MORE and civil rights leaders Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.