Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended chief of staff John Kelly at Tuesday’s press briefing, a day after Kelly defended Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee as “an honorable man” and said it was a mistake to take down Confederate-tied symbols.
“All of our leaders have flaws,” Sanders said during the daily press briefing. “Washington, Jefferson, JFK, Roosevelt, Kennedy — that doesn’t diminish their contributions to our country and it certainly can’t erase them from our history, and Gen. Kelly was simply making the point that just because history isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean that it’s not our history.”
When pressed on whether the Trump administration acknowledged that Kelly’s comments could be seen as offensive to some, Sanders did not budge.
“No, because as I said before I think that you can’t — because you don’t like history doesn’t mean that you can erase it and pretend that it didn’t happen, and I think that’s the point that Gen. Kelly was trying to make,” she said.
Kelly on Monday night was discussing the Confederate statue debate on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” when he said the Civil War was caused by “a lack of ability to compromise.”
He repeated comments made by Donald Trump, who has defended the memorials as an important part of U.S. “heritage.”
Kelly also called Lee “an honorable man” who gave up his country to fight for his state.
“I don’t think that we should sit here and debate every moment of history. I think those moments took place. There are moments that we’re going to be a lot less proud of than others but we can’t erase the fact that they happened. I think you have to determine where that line is,” Sanders said.
Appearing to grow frustrated with questions on the topic, Sanders accused reporters of creating “a narrative that simply doesn’t exist.”
“The media continues to want to make this and push that this is some sort of a racially charged and divided White House … and I think it is absurd and disgraceful to keep trying to make comments and take them out of context to mean something they simply don’t,” she said.
— CNN (@CNN) October 31, 2017