White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Monday told Politico reporter Ryan Lizza his question was “absolutely absurd” when he asked if President Trump was happy with the outcome of the Civil War.
“I think a lot of people are trying to understand what [Trump’s] view of memorializing the Confederacy is in the proper place of the Confederate flag,” Lizza said. “Does President Trump believe that it was a good thing that the South lost the Civil War?”
“Your first question is absolutely absurd,” McEnany shot back. “He’s proud of the United States of America.”
The reporter also asked if the president would follow the lead of NASCAR and ban Confederate flags at rallies. NASCAR recently banned the flag at its races.
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McEnany said this was a question for the campaign, but reiterated the White House’s opposition to tearing down statues. “There is a Harvard Harris poll released just last week that shows 60 percent of respondents said the statue should remain and 71 percent said local governments should block groups from physically destroying the statues,” she said. “So he stands on the side of preserving our history.”
McEnany continued saying that protesters trying to tear down statues “appear to have no ideology.” She pointed to the defacement of statues such as that of Philadelphia abolitionist Matthias Baldwin and abolitionist Hans Christian Heg, who died fighting in the Union army.
The press secretary said that over 100 people have been arrested so far by the Department of Justice for the destruction of federal property and four have been charged for attempting to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Park.
On Friday Trump signed an executive order to protect the monuments, threatening those who tried to tear them down with “long prison time.”
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At the same time, Attorney General Bill Barr directed the creation of a task force to counter anti-government extremists, specifically naming those who support the far-right “boogaloo” movement and those who identify as Antifa. McEnany said that so far the FBI has opened 200 domestic terrorism investigations.