The host of "News One Now," Roland Martin, spoke on MSNBC's "Velshi & Ruhle" to discuss recent remarks that White House chief of staff John Kelly made concerning the destruction of monuments commemorating the dead of the Confederacy. Martin said that “too many people in this country who are white” are ignorant of history and thus want to “somehow glorify these Confederate leaders.” Kelly is a retired four-star Marine general.
Martin said, “I’m not going to allow four stars stuck on stupid to simply go on. Here’s a man who’s utterly clueless. For him to say, ‘Well, we could have compromised’—really? We did compromise. It was a thing called United States Constitution, and you know what that said? If you’re a black, you’re three-fifths of a human.” Martin said, ”I need John Kelly to actually go back and read a history book that my 12-year-old nieces are reading right now, because clearly, he fell asleep in history.”
“This is how we normalize white supremacy. Then to say, well, we don’t have an appreciation of history. I love this whole deal about how, you know, he was an honorable man. Really? There were abolitionists during that particular period who did not believe in slavery. Don’t call them men of their time.”
Martin added, “We have too many people in this country who are white who do not know history and who want to somehow glorify these Confederate leaders. I’m telling you right now, they ain’t my founding fathers, and they’re not my leaders. We need to have real history. Not his story. And I will say to John Kelly, shame on you. And also, you owe Congresswoman Wilson an apology for lying. Don’t you talk about honor and sacred and how we treat women when you lied to the American people, and you’re not man enough to admit it.”
Martin referred to controversy that arose when Kelly, in a White House press conference, criticized Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) as an "empty barrel." Wilson demanded an apology for what she considered racist remarks on Kelly's part. Kelly has since refused to apologize.
On Monday, Kelly was interviewed by television show host Laura Ingraham. While remarking on the "good" and "not so good" aspects of American history, Kelly also paid tribute to Confederate general Robert E. Lee while attributing the origin of the American Civil War to a "lack of an ability to compromise." Speaking on "The Ingraham Angle," Kelly said that it is "dangerous" not to recognize that history is "evolving" when he was asked about the removal of controversial statues of famous Confederate figures. "There will be, 100 or 200 years from now, people that criticize us for what we do, and I guess they'll tear down, you know, statues of people that we revere today," Kelly told Ingraham. "It's dangerous, I think. ... It's just very, very dangerous and it shows you what, how much of a lack of appreciation of history and what history is."
Kelly called Lee "an honorable man." He said, "It was always loyalty to state first back in those days." Kelly said, "Now, it's different today." Kelly continued: "But 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 to make their stand."