Stunningly, former President Donald Trump released a statement this week in which he said that if “only we had Robert E. Lee to command our troops in Afghanistan, that disaster would have ended in a complete and total victory many years ago.” In the context of decrying the removal of a Lee statue from public display in Charlottesville, Virginia, Trump spent paragraphs praising the long dead Confederate general, who he also dubiously claimed “is considered by many Generals to be the greatest strategist of them all.” That statement, of course, sounds like something Trump, who’s endlessly inept, basically made up.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) joined those expressing their disgust at Trump’s bumbling statement. As Kinzinger put it:
‘I wonder what [House GOP leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)] thinks of this statement? Yesterday he announced that Trump would be headlining the [NRCC] fundraiser in Tampa this November. Would this country be better with the genius of Robert E Lee? The GOP must condemn this, Or am i again the only one?’
I wonder what @GOPLeader thinks of this statement? Yesterday he announced that Trump would be headlining the @NRCC fundraiser in Tampa this November. Would this country be better with the genius of Robert E Lee? The GOP must condemn this, Or am i again the only one? https://t.co/E0u13KzV0C
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) September 9, 2021
Brazen ignorance and bigotry so often go together, and Trump proved that again with his incompetent statement about Robert E. Lee this week. He has spent awhile harping against the removal of monuments to Confederate leaders to the point that he vetoed a defense spending bill while in office in part because of his anger at the inclusion of provisions to remove the names of Confederate leaders from U.S. military installations. (Congress eventually successfully overrode that veto.)
Trump claimed in his statement on Lee that America’s “culture is being destroyed and our history and heritage, both good and bad, are being extinguished by the Radical Left” — which is laughably nonsensical. Whiny self-centeredness is another feature of the Trump brand, and that element appears here. The high-profile removal of a statue from public display does not mean that Robert E. Lee was somehow erased from history! It simply means that the local community will be learning about Lee through means other than a statue touting him with little inherent critical pushback.