In a combative and frankly somewhat jaw-droppingly disjointed August 15 press conference, President Donald Trump expressed dismay at the removal of the statue to Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia (that planned removal being the flashpoint of the violent protests which erupted this past weekend) and in doing so, seemed to compare General Lee to George Washington.
“So, this week it’s Robert E. Lee,” said the President. “I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?”
Let’s agree that there are many in this country who, like President Trump, would make little to no distinction between Confederate generals and slave-owning Founding Fathers. These activists would like to see statues and memorials to any and all slave owners (Confederate or loyal American) removed, and they would like to see any schools, towns, cities, or states likewise renamed. This includes Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, and so on. President Trump is correct on this point, but…
He is wrong to encourage such linking or association. And he’s wrong to suggest an all-or-nothing approach to statues and memorials.
**For the rest of this article, please visit “George Washington and Robert E Lee Are Not The Same” over at my American Revolution & Founding Era blog**