RFK Jr. opposes taking down Confederate statues

RFK Jr. opposes taking down Confederate statues

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he is opposed to efforts to remove statues honoring Confederate soldiers.

Kennedy joined Tim Pool in an episode of his podcast “Timcast IRL” on Friday at the Libertarian National Convention, where he said the 2021 removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., gave him a “visceral reaction.”

“I have a visceral reaction against … the attacks on those statues,” he said. “I mean, I grew up, you know, in Virginia. I know that … there were heroes in the Confederacy who didn’t have slaves and … I just have a visceral reaction against destroying history. I don’t like it. I think we should celebrate who we are.”

Kennedy argued that it’s not a good or healthy thing for any culture to erase its history. He said he thinks the United States should celebrate the good qualities “of everybody.”

“If we want to find people who were completely virtuous on every issue throughout history, we would erase all of history,” he said.

The independent candidate said that values change throughout history and Americans must be “sophisticated enough” to live with the choices of our ancestors who “didn’t agree with us on everything and who did things that are now regarded as immoral or wrong.”

Kennedy argued that the statues may not have been erected to celebrate the soldiers’ participation in the Confederacy exactly, but maybe other qualities. He said Lee “clearly” had “extraordinary qualities of leadership.”

Pool also pressed Kennedy on his thoughts on Indigenous Peoples’ Day and Columbus Day. He said he doesn’t think the United States should outright get rid of Columbus Day but said it’s important for Americans to recognize all people, and particularly Indigenous people, who experienced the “ultimate sacrifice” and one of the “greatest genocides” in history.

The Hill has reached out to the Kennedy campaign for further comment.

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