As the debate around removing controversial statues escalates, MSNBC host Chris Matthews weighed in by arguing that American leaders who were slave owners shouldn’t have their monuments removed. “Where do we stop?” he asked.
While Matthews did not call for keeping memorials commemorating the Confederacy, he claimed he does “understand the feeling” of the South in regards to their history and heritage. “It was so complex… The sign off on the local TV station [in North Carolina] was a very slow rendering of Dixie. It’s about loss, regional loss,” said Matthews.
While hosting Hardball, Matthews explained:
Nobody is going after Teddy Roosevelt and the idea of going after shave owners — you’d have to basically take away our history because the first six presidents or so had slaves. You’d have to go after people like Washington and all the southern guys, the ones who followed him, Madison and Monroe and the rest. Where do we stop at saying we’re going to recognize our history, accept it for what it was and move on? And when are we going to say, no, someone has to be did he celebrated, taken away from our site?”
The host’s opinions came as a response to President Donald Trump‘s comments following the deadly protest of the removal of Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“It’s time to expose the crooked media deceptions and to challenge the media for their role in fomenting divisions… They are trying to take away our history and our heritage,” said the president last night at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona.
Trump also begged Americans to not remove statues depicting presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. “They’re trying to take away our culture, they’re trying to take away our history, and our weak leaders, they do it overnight,” he said.
Matthews claimed that this assertion by Trump — that people want to take down statues of even non-Confederates — is just him “trumping up” the statue debate. However, contrary to Matthews’ belief, Al Sharpton has advocated for defunding the Jefferson Memorial, Vice published a piece on removing Mt. Rushmore, and New York City is holding a review on “symbols of hate” — which could result in taking down a statue of Christopher Columbus.
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.
[image via screengrab]
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