Long thought of as a voice of reason in the White House, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly, is out of favor following controversial statements he made about the Civil War during an interview on Fox New on Monday.
Kelly suggested the Civil War was caused by a “lack of an ability to compromise” during the debut episode of Laura Ingraham’s new show, “The Ingraham Angle” and weighed in on the Confederate statue debate, saying the memorials should stay.
“History is history,” he said.
“There are certain things in history that were good, and other things that were not so good,” Kelly continued before swooping in with an "all sides” comment of his own. “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."
Kelly’s statement echoed that of President Trump following the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August. Clad in Nazi paraphernalia and Confederate symbols, white supremacist groups marched on a city park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. Ralliers clashed violently with counter-protesters that culminated in one of the white supremacist marchers driving his speeding Dodge Charger into a crowd. A 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, was killed.
Following the violence, Trump was criticized first for his delayed response and then for condemning violence on “many sides.” Trump’s lack of condemnation for white supremacy has sparked a nationwide call to take down Confederate Statues and monuments. Dozens have since been removed in states across the southwest.
Kelly further ignited controversy when later in the show he called Lee an “honorable” man.
“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,” Kelly told Ingraham. “Now, it’s different.”
Twitter reactions to John Kelly comments
The comments, while in line with those made by President Trump and other administration officials, seemed to catch the internet by surprise and Twitter didn't hold back at voicing its disappointment for the man they once counted on to be a moderating force in the White House.
👇 Please stop referring to John Kelly as one of the "adults." https://t.co/lDLA47pQFB— Ankit Panda (@nktpnd) October 31, 2017
You’ll never be able to spin the Civil War into a both sides were good argument. pic.twitter.com/p4iK1zI5oo— (((Jammy))) (@Carlisias) October 31, 2017
Thread: Apart from being racist, Kelly's claim the Civil War happened because of "lack of compromise" erases the MANY compromises pre-War. https://t.co/KJSxQzDdXQ— Alexander McBooOOo👻 (@AlexanderMcCoy4) October 31, 2017
Black People: hey hi we are not your property— Eric Haywood (@EricHaywood) October 31, 2017
Southerners: yes the fuck you are
John Kelly: damn shame they couldn’t meet in the middle https://t.co/bGlzkO4NjR
It’s irresponsible & dangerous, especially when white supremacists feel emboldened, to make fighting to maintain slavery sound courageous. https://t.co/qb2X7QhG7M— Be A King (@BerniceKing) October 31, 2017