“Madam Speaker — You’ve been a dear friend for a long time. You’ve been to my office… and you know the portrait that hangs [there], the portrait of Abraham Lincoln. I’m proud that he was the first Republican President of the United States.
“I’m proud of the action he took in a defining time for our nation. The greatest challenge ever to our Constitution was the Civil War…
“The bill we’re voting on today we’ve voted on before. I supported it [then] and I support it now…
“But let me state a simple fact: All of the statues being removed by this bill are statues of Democrats…
“What’s interesting is the statues that need to be removed were sent by states [with Democrat-run legislatures] sent to a House that had a [Democrat majority who was] accepting of these statues.
“I think the bill should go further. Maybe it’s time the Democrats changed the name of their party.
“[Democrats are] desperate to pretend their party has progressed from their days of supporting slavery, pushing Jim Crow laws, and supporting the KKK.
“But let’s be honest… if those fundamentals rest somewhere, we cannot let them.
“Let’s go through some of the words and actions of a few Democrats.
“Just a few years ago, then-Vice President Joe Biden praised Senator Robert Byrd, an ‘Exalted Cyclops’ in the Ku Klux Klan. In his eulogy for Byrd, he said ‘for a lot of us, he was a friend, a mentor, and a guide.’
“Another leading Democrat who praised Byrd was Speaker Pelosi. She called Byrd a friend, a great person, and a great American patriot.
“Madam Speaker, today the Democrat Party has doubled down on what I consider a shameful history by replacing the racism of the past with the racism of Critical Race Theory.
“They continue to look at race as the primary means of judging a person’s character.
“We saw this just last week. Senate Democrats voted to confirm one of President Biden’s appointees who said, ‘we must do everything in our collective power to realize Dr. Kendi’s vision for America.’
“Let’s be clear about what that vision is.
“Kendi, the author of ‘How to Be an Antiracist,’ proposed in his book that the solution to past discrimination is present discrimination.
“That’s what the person who is now in charge of the personnel of the entire federal government is endorsing.
“And this divisive vision isn’t confined to just one person or department.
“The Navy included Kendi’s book on its official reading list for sailors and the Department of Education has praised the debunked 1619 Project, citing it as an example of what should be taught to our children.
“Critical Race Theory is the governing ideology [of the entire] Biden administration. By advocating for it, Democrats continue to fuel hatred and division across the country.
“I agree with Senator Tim Scott: America is not a racist country.
“America must reject Critical Race Theory for the simple reason [that] state-sponsored racism is wrong and it always will be.
“It was wrong when it was the segregated lunch counter of Jim Crow, and it is wrong when it is the segregated classrooms of Critical Race Theory…
“Our nation was built on a unifying vision from the beginning. As Lincoln said, we were ‘conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that we are all equal.’
“I’ll vote for this bill today just as I voted for it before, but Madam Speaker if we have [learned] anything, [it’s that] we should not divide our nation based on race.
“I applaud the Democrats for removing Democrat statues [sent from] Democrat majorities to a Democrat House that accepted them. It is about time.
“But Madam Speaker, to continue along with Critical Race Theory, where you would teach an individual that they’re right or wrong based on the color of their skin goes against everything we’re voting on today…
“Madam Speaker, you know my heart and I know yours. There are times we might disagree on philosophy or how best to run a government, but we never disagreed by judging someone by the color of their skin.
“I hope we take this moment and this opportunity, as we promised before, to strive to be a more perfect union.
“I yield back.”