Gus Bilirakis Embraces Aide With Background In Sons Of Confederate Veterans

Historians in the News
tags: Florida, Sons of Confederate Veterans

On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis voted with the majority of the House of Representatives to remove statues honoring Confederate figures from United States Capitol grounds.

In a statement, the Republican from Palm Harbor said he wants to see Confederate flags and memorials moved to museums, and believes “in the value of an ongoing dialogue on these issues.”

Bilirakis, who is running for an eighth term this year, is among the elected officials nationwide publicly reassessing the place of Confederate monuments and symbols amid the ongoing dialogue regarding systemic racism. While he has supported the removal of Confederate symbols from public spaces, Bilirakis employs inside his office a Congressional aide with a background in the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

“It has pushed from its founding a white supremacist narrative of history that celebrates white men and distorts the truth,” Adam Domby, an assistant professor of history at the College of Charleston, said of Sons of Confederate Veterans.

After Bob Hatfield, a former school principal and golf coach, began working as an aide for Bilirakis more than six years ago, he continued giving talks to community groups about the Civil War in his role as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Since 2014, Hatfield has been paid $120,322 as Bilirakis’ aide, according to House of Representatives statements of disbursements.

Read entire article at Tampa Bay Times

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