White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly defended Robert E. Lee and Christopher Columbus, saying it was a “mistake” to judge historical figures by modern standards.
“It’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then – I just think it’s very very dangerous,” he said. “It shows you how much a lack of an appreciation of history and what history is.”
Kelly made his comments during an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham who asked him about the controversy over monuments of historical figures.
Kelly said that Lee was an “honorable man” who chose to fight for his state, pointing out that the loyalty to one’s state was more important to Americans in that era.
“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,” he said.