The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus is accusing the White House of trying to “whitewash history” and said chief of staff John Kelly "needs a history lesson" after saying a "lack of ability to compromise led to the Civil War."
“The Congressional Black Caucus is not surprised by the Trump White House’s repeated attempts to whitewash history or by its continued inability to apologize when it is flat out wrong,” Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., said in a statement Tuesday. “We continue to call on General Kelly to apologize for his lies about Congresswoman [Frederica] Wilson. He is starting to sound a lot like his boss.”
Richmond’s statement was prompted by an interview that aired Monday night on Fox News, during which Kelly was asked about efforts to remove Confederate statues.
“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,” Kelly said. “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.”
Richmond said Kelly “needs a history lesson.”
“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly needs a history lesson. The Civil War was not a disagreement between ‘men and women of good faith on both sides.’ It was a struggle for the soul of this country,” he said. “Thankfully, the right side won the war and slavery is no longer the law of the land.”
During his interview with Fox News, Kelly was also asked about a feud between the White House and Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who shared the details of a condolence call between Trump and the widow of one of the four U.S. soldiers killed in Niger at the beginning of the month.
Kelly, a Gold Star father himself, addressed Wilson’s comments during a White House press briefing this month and accused the congresswoman of boasting about securing the funding for an FBI building in Florida during a 2015 ceremony held to dedicate the building to two slain FBI agents.
Wilson refuted Kelly’s characterization of her comments, and a video that surfaced from the event supported the Florida Democrat’s recollections.
When asked by Fox News if he felt he should apologize for his remarks about Wilson, Kelly said “absolutely not.”
“Oh, no. No. Never. Well, I’ll apologize if I need to,” he said. “But for something like that, absolutely not. I stand by my comments.”