TAMPA — Moments after Hillsborough County commissioners made uncertain a previous decision to move Tampa's Confederate monument, they voted to put the area's most vocal advocate of Confederate causes on a citizen committee to promote diversity.
Four of six commissioners present nominated David McCallister, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Judah P. Benjamin Camp, to be the representative of Northern & Southern Europe on the county's Diversity Advisory Council.
The diversity council includes representatives from various ethnic groups as well as the LGBTQ community. Its job is to “facilitate communication between county government and its diverse populations, addressing matters related to diversity that are important to everyone.”
McCallister has helped organize opposition against removing a Confederate monument from outside the old county courthouse in downtown Tampa. He appears at nearly every county commission meeting wearing a stars and bars tie to advocate for recognition of Southern Heritage and Confederate veterans of the Civil War, which he calls "The War Between the States."
On Tuesday, McCallister joined others in standing outside the 106-year-old marble monument around the clock to protect it from vandalism. Following the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va. — in which a counterprotester was killed in a rally attended by white supremacists, neo Nazis and Klu Klux Klan members — a Confederate statue was taken down by protestors in North Carolina.
McCallister cheered on a decision by the commission Wednesday to prevent the statue's removal if the funds to relocate it cannot be raised privately in 30 days. In comments before the commission he also advocated his inclusion on the diversity advisory council, noting he attends nearly every meeting already.
McCallister was nominated by Commissioners Victor Crist, Ken Hagan, Sandy Murman and Stacy White. It's the same four commissioners who voted to force the money to move the monument to come from private donors, not public dollars.