‘Lee was a great general’: Trump’s Civil War remarks spark Twitter row
In the era of Confederate statues and monuments being removed due to the South’s history of slavery, Robert E. Lee isn’t often talked about in a good light. But President Donald Trump managed to bring him up at a rally in Lebanon, Ohio on Friday.
“So Robert E. Lee was a great general. And Abraham Lincoln developed a phobia. He couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee,” Trump said.
He went on to explain that Lee was “winning battle after battle after battle” in the Civil War, and that Lincoln came home and said “I can’t beat Robert E. Lee.”
At that point, Trump explained, Lincoln looked to Ulysses S. Grant to save the day – even though he was told Grant had a drinking problem.
“And he went in and knocked the hell out of everyone,” Trump said of Grant.
But despite most of Trump’s words being related to Grant, it’s his comments about Lee that have the internet in a huff.
Trump...Black Congresswoman- Low IQBlack NFL player- Son of a bitchPuerto Rican Mayor- CrazyHaiti- ShitholeBlack President- Not AmericanMexicans- RapistsRobert E. Lee- ExcellentNazis- Fine peopleSad.— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) October 13, 2018
OHIO is not in the south. The only reason to extoll on Robert E. Lee is if Trump's whole audience r KKK Members. THATS where we're at. He's on his KKK-USA tour. Someone needs to get detailed pictures of Trump Operatives at these "Rallies" then we'll know for sure. @EricHolderhttps://t.co/FmYfJfE8T2— Terese Zimmerman (@TZZToday) October 13, 2018
Robert E. Lee was a great general in the same way Osama bin Laden was a great organizer.— Marie Connor (@thistallawkgirl) October 13, 2018
Writer and producer Wajahat Ali also chimed in, providing the token Putin reference – even though Putin has absolutely nothing to do with anything said on the stage in Lebanon, Ohio.
Trump praised Robert E. Lee tonight. Last week, he fell in love with Kim Jong Un. He's infatuated with Putin. But women protesting Kavanaugh are a mob.— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) October 13, 2018
Others, however, say that being angry over Trump’s comments is ludicrous, as the president was only using Lee in the story to ultimately praise Grant for beating him.
Are we really doing this? Are we really pretending that this was Trump just praising Robert E. Lee for the hell of it (b/c, the obvious subtext goes, he's dog-whistling)? This insults the intelligence of anyone who checks speech. It was a wind-up to praise Grant for beating him. https://t.co/sDhSv6bW13— Jeff B. (@EsotericCD) October 13, 2018
One person responded to that Tweet by admitting that he initially believed the “false narrative” until he actually watched the clip of Trump speaking for himself. “Why is our media such garbage?” the person asked.
Sigh. I believed the false narrative...until I went back and saw the actual clip.Why is our media such garbage?— Pradheep J. Shanker, M.D., M.S. (@Neoavatara) October 13, 2018
Reason 3,456,894 why people hate the media.— BossyRobynn (@Robynn9436) October 13, 2018
One person said that “Trump derangement syndrome” is to blame for the left “freaking out” over his words.
You are right and they all know this but context matters not a whit when someone is suffering from Trump derangement syndrome. Their playbook only has one play: “Freak out!” and they can’t change course even though they’re losing 268-0.— BillyTK (@BillyTK31) October 13, 2018
Others pointed out that Lee was historically a great general, and that is proven by the fact that Lincoln had to go through many people to find one who could beat him.
Lee was an incredible general. Anyone who knows anything about history knows this. Lincoln was upset and fearful of him because he kept kicking the Unions butt. Finally, a heavy drinking badass named US Grant who was courageous stood up and won. All true cupcakes. Keep crying— Tom Reicher (@treicher0413) October 13, 2018
The Friday rally wasn’t the first time Trump has referenced Lee. Following the Charlottesville riots of 2017, Trump said that protesters had been there to oppose the removal of a “very, very important” statue.
“They were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee,” Trump said at the time. “This week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
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