Trump’s chief of staff says ‘lack of compromise,’ led to Civil War, sparks Twitter backlash

John Kelly. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly said a lack of “compromise” led to the U.S. Civil War while also calling Confederate hero Robert E. Lee an “honourable” man.

In an appearance on Fox News Monday night, Kelly was asked by host Laura Ingraham about the decision by an Episcopal church in northern Virginia to relocate monuments honouring Lee and George Washington.

“Robert E. Lee was an honourable man,” Kelly responded. “He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state which 150 years ago was more important than country.

“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 them make their stand.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Donald Trump says the ‘alt-left’ shares the blame for Charlottesville. Here’s where that term came from

Both Lee and Washington worshipped at the church but the pair were also slave owners. The men’s history had left some parishioners feeling uncomfortable.

The decision to move the plaques has been under consideration for some time but was pushed forward after the incident in Charlottesville, Virginia which left a woman dead and 19 others hospitalized, a church spokesperson told the Associated Press.

READ MORE: Charlottesville violence the first big domestic crisis of Trump’s presidency

Charlottesville became a rallying point for white nationalists after the city council voted to remove a statue of Lee. The largest gathering, in August, erupted into violence, with attendees and counter-demonstrators brawling in the streets. A woman protesting the white nationalists was killed when a car drove into a crowd.

The U.S. Civil War was fought over slavery; Kelly’s choice of words immediately led to backlash on Twitter.

Sponsored content