President Donald Trump said Sunday that any African-Americans who want to remove Confederate monuments or statues simply don’t know the “great history” of the United States and “have to learn” the past of the country, according to Mediaite.
During an appearance on a Fox News special hosted by Brian Kilmeade, the president was asked about Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, both of whom owned slaves. Interestingly, Kilmeade failed to ask about people such as Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, both of whom could be considered traitors for declaring war on their own country. That led Trump to respond:
“You have to understand history, and you have to understand the culture.
“We have to remember the heritage and the culture of our country. Here is the other problem that I have — a lot of these people don’t even know what they are taking down. I see what’s happening on television, and they are ripping down things they have no idea what they are ripping down, but they started off with the Confederates and now go to Ulysses Grant so what is that all about?”
Perhaps Trump also needs to “understand” some basic facts, such as this one: Ulysses Grant was a slaveholder until 1859, so his hands are far from clean.
Kilmeade then asked if the president had a message specifically for African-Americans:
“Since you have done a lot for the African-American community, what is your message to them when their ancestors were enslaved because of [these leaders who are commemorated on these monuments]?”
“My message is that we have a great country, we have the greatest country on Earth. We have a heritage, we have a history and we should learn from the history, and if you don’t understand your history, you will go back to it again. You will go right back to it. You have to learn. Think of it, you take away that whole era and you’re going to go back to it sometime. People won’t know about it. They’re going to forget about it. It’s okay.”
The president then made it clear he sees nothing wrong with monuments to traitors or those who oppressed and killed others just because they happened to be black:
“Now what I do like, I like the idea of building new statues to people, to great people. People that have done something. And I think that’s okay.
“But you don’t want to take away our heritage and history and the beauty, in many cases, the beauty, the artistic beauty. Some of the sculptures and some of this work is some of the great — you can go to France, you can go anywhere in the world and you will never see more magnificent work. And that’s a factor. It’s not the biggest factor but it’s a factor.”
Really? Then put the great statuary works of art in a museum for people to see if they want to.
As for the absurd notion that people will forget about history if these statues are taken down, perhaps the president should remember there are history books for that. Just because he’s too lazy to read a book doesn’t mean everyone else is.
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