Clyburn: There’s a Difference Between Confederates and Washington, Jefferson, and Grant

During an interview aired on Tuesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “The Story,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) defended statues and monuments for George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and distinguished them from Confederate statues and monuments by pointing out Washington freed his slaves and Jefferson never fought against the U.S. He also defended Ulysses S. Grant by stating that “no one was more anti-slavery” than him.

Clyburn said, “The fact of the matter is, yes, he [Washington] was a slave owner. But do you remember what happened to his slaves at the end of his reign? He freed them. Yes, Thomas Jefferson did own slaves. He never fought for the destruction of this country. He never tried to preserve slavery as a way of life, in spite of what shortcomings he may have had. What we’re talking about here, is celebrating people who lead insurrections against this country and fought to keep people enslaved. … I know how to differentiate one from the other.”

He added, “I do know that no one was more anti-slavery than Ulysses S. Grant. Yet, I saw the other day, that somebody interpreted his having married into a family of slave owners that he was disqualified. I could not disagree more.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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