Some S.C. Republicans agree with President Donald Trump’s call Thursday to keep Confederate monument and statues.
The president took to Twitter Thursday morning to say: “Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You ... can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!”
Whether to remove Confederate monuments is being debated nationwide in the wake of a white nationalist protest against the removal of a statue of Lee in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend that turned deadly.
In South Carolina, some Republicans said they agree with the president.
Glenn McCall of Rock Hill, a Republican National Committee member since 2008, said Thursday the monuments should stay.
“I, personally, think we shouldn’t take them down because they’re a part of our history,” McCall said. “If we whitewash all of this, where do we go with our great civil rights leaders where we have buildings and streets and different structures named after them?”
But some political observers and Democrats disagreed.
The “slippery slope” argument — that removing Confederate statues would lead to the removal of monuments of founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson — is a logical fallacy, said Winthrop political scientist Scott Huffmon.
“Are you implying that you can’t defend taking down this statue by saying, ‘Well would another statue come down if you took this one?’ ” Huffmon asked rhetorically.
A Lowcountry Democrat said he expects the issue to be raised in January, when legislators return to Columbia.
“The people of South Carolina showed that we were united when we passed a bill that removed the Confederate flag from in front of the State House,” said state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston. “I suspect we will turn our attention to other Confederate monuments next year when the General Assembly begins session.”
However, one Lexington Republican said, in this case, she agrees with Trump’s tweet.
“We can’t erase the past by tearing down a monument and memorial,” state Sen. Katrina Shealy said.
Shealy noted S.C. law requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to remove any historical monument or marker in the state.
Given that hurdle, “I don’t see that as even an option in the state of South Carolina,” Shealy said.