Trump Echoes White Nationalists With Confederate Monuments Defense

Donald Trump speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Flickr/ Gage Skidmore)

Earlier today, President Trump took to Twitter to offer a defense of keeping Confederate monuments on public lands. “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments,” he wrote. “You can’t change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson – who’s next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!”

Trump’s argument about losing “the history and culture” of the country by tearing down monuments to slavery and white supremacy echoes arguments made by white nationalists. That includes well-known white nationalist Jared Taylor, who in a radio interview on Tuesday made a similar “slippery slope” argument, claiming that statues of George Washington would be next and eventually the White House would be repainted and called the “House of Many Colors.”

In an interview with South Carolina radio host Rocky Disabato on his podcast Tuesday, Taylor lamented the pressure Trump had come under to say that the fault for recent violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville lay with “all these wicked white people.”

Disabato complained to Taylor that progressives are using the violence in Charlottesville to “try to erase confederate statues and their history,” insisting that “this all started” when former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley moved to remove the Confederate flag from statehouse grounds after a white supremacist murdered nine people at a black church in Charleston.

While Disabato speculated that Haley probably regrets her decision now, Taylor was less sure because Haley’s Indian ancestry means “she’s not a southerner” and “doesn’t give two hoots about southerners and what they stand for.”

“I think Nikki Haley probably thinks it’s fine for every single memorial to the Confederacy to be taken down,” Taylor said. “She doesn’t have any southern roots. Her ancestors came from India, for heaven’s sake, just one generation ago. She doesn’t give two hoots about southerners and what they stand for, I don’t believe. She may be a good person, as you say, but why should she have any sympathy for southerners? She’s not a southerner.”

Disabato added that the reason Haley is now ambassador to the United Nations “is because Trump put her in a place to get her away from being governor, so he could seat Henry McMaster in the governor’s chair. And Henry has said nothing about yanking down monuments.”

Taylor was thrilled with Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy last year, saying that Trump would probably place people “at all sorts of levels in his administration” who “think the way we do” and saying he was “hugely encouraged” by the movement Trump represents of people who are “fed up” with “the racial changes going on in the United States.”