Following Trump’s off the rails, impromptu press conference yesterday in which he again failed to condemn literal white supremacists and neo-Nazis at Saturday’s rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, the family of Robert E. Lee, in a surprising move, denounced the white nationalist groups who rallied to preserve the Civil War general’s statue.
“There’s no place for that,” Robert E. Lee V, the great-great-grandson of the Confederate hero, said in an interview with Newsweek. “There’s no place for that hate.” Along with Lee’s sister, Tracy Lee Crittenberger, the two issued a statement condemning the “hateful words and violent actions of white supremacists, the KKK or neo-Nazis.”
“We don’t believe in that whatsoever. Our belief is that General Lee would not tolerate that sort of behavior either. His first thing to do after the Civil War was to bring the Union back together, so we could become a more unified country.”
Despite the violent crowd of white supremacists marching to protect Lee’s statue, which has stood in Charlottesville since 1924, his family issued a stern warning against invoking their forebearer’s name in defense of the abhorrent and racist acts.
“We don’t want people to think that they can hide behind Robert E. Lee’s name and his life for these senseless acts of violence that occurred on Saturday,” Lee said.
The Confederate heir’s family even went so far as to endorse the relocation of further Confederate-era statues into museums.
“I think that is absolutely an option, to move it to a museum and put it in the proper historical context,” Lee said. “Times were very different then. We look at the institution of slavery, and it’s absolutely horrendous. Back then, times were just extremely different. We understand that it’s complicated in 2017, when you look back at that period of time… If you want to put statues of General Lee or other Confederate people in museums, that makes good sense.”
The fact that Trump was quick to defend white supremacists who were supposedly “preserving” General Robert E. Lee’s memory while his own family denounces them is evidence enough that the President’s claims were egregiously ill-advised. It seems that the only people left supporting Trump’s comments are the very neo-Nazis in attendance that day.