The Rev. Rob Lee, an indirect descendant of Gen. Robert E. Lee, called White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s false praise for Lee and the Confederacy ignorant.
Kelly put forward a historically inaccurate and racist view of the Confederacy and the Civil War on Fox News, “I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it’s different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”
Rev. Lee spoke out both to The Washington Post, and on Twitter.
Rob Lee told the Post, “It is clear to me that General Kelly sees honor in a man who fought for continued enslavement of people and chattel slavery. That is, after all, what states’ rights was for. There is no honor in that to me. John Kelly would be best to keep our president from tweeting and enacting racist policies, rather than engaging in a debate over the racist past of the South.”
He also tweeted:
Why not you focus on your boss’ ignorance before opening your mouth to prove you’re in the same boat? https://t.co/aEewudEawa
— Rev. Rob Lee (@roblee4) October 31, 2017
Remember the media tale that John Kelly was the adult in the room who was going to keep Trump in check?
It turns out that the reason why Trump likes Kelly so much is that they are both cut from the cloth.
Rev. Lee was right. If Kelly sees honor in Robert E. Lee, then he sees honor in defending racism and bigotry.
By whitewashing Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy, Trump and Kelly are laying the groundwork for a new racist assault on America. The Trump administration is not only defending racism and racists, but they are trying to reverse decades of civil rights progress and return the country to white supremacy. John Kelly’s comments were historically inaccurate, but they also had a policy purpose behind them.
It is that purpose that is alarming anti-racism activists like Rev. Lee, and why it is important for every American to focus not only on what members of the Trump administration are saying, but why they are saying it.