CNN political analyst and Politico White House correspondent Ryan Lizza asked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday whether President Donald Trump thought it was good that the Confederacy lost the Civil War.
Their exchange was as follows:
Lizza: Kayleigh, there’s a national conversation going on right now about the proper place of symbols of the Confederacy — statues, memorials, names — and that the president has repeatedly inserted himself into this debate. And I think a lot of people are trying to understand what his view of memorializing the Confederacy is, and the proper place of the Confederate flag. So, a couple questions. One: does he believe, does President Trump believe that it was a good thing that the South lost the Civil War? And then, two: is he interested in following NASCAR’s example and banning the Confederate flag at his own events?
McEnany: Well, your first question is absolutely absurd. He’s proud of the United States of America. Second, with regard to our statues, Americans oppose tearing down our statues. There’s a Harvard/Harris poll released just last week that shows 60% of respondents said the statues should remain, and 71% said local governments should block groups from physically destroying the statutes. So he stands on the side of preserving our history.
Lizza: The question was actually about the Confederate flag at his rallies. Will he — is he interested in banning the Confederate flag at his rallies?
McEnany: That would be a question for his campaign. But look — this president’s focused on taking action, on fixing problems. That’s why he had his executive order, just a few weeks ago, to keep our streets safe and secure. That’s where his focus lies. And I think that those who are tearing down statues, they do appear to have no ideology when they are tearing down statues and defacing statues of Matthias Baldwin, an abolitionist; Hans Christian Heg, who died fighting for the Union Army during the Civil War; a memorial for African American soldiers who fought in the Civil War was damaged in Boston; and a monument to fallen police officers was vandalized in Sacramento. This is unacceptable; it’s why the president took strong action; it’s why he has an executive order saying those tearing down statues will be punished to the fullest extent of the law; it’s why four people were charged. He will not stand for lawlessness and chaos. He stands with 71% of Americans who say there is no place for tearing down statues, as these anarchists are doing across the nation.
Lizza persisted in trying to ask about the Confederate flag at Trump rallies, but McEnany moved on to another journalist.
Journalists have repeatedly attempted to ask questions that imply President Trump is associated with the Confederacy. In 2017, one asked him at a press conference: “Are you against the Confederacy?” The president ignored the question.
The Confederacy seceded from the United States to preserve the institution of slavery, which Republicans opposed.
Last year, the president delivered an address on the Fourth of July, in which he said: “Devotion to our founding ideals led American patriots to abolish the evil of slavery, secure civil rights, and expand the blessings of liberty to all Americans.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.