A descendant of Robert E. Lee said Saturday that he was "disheartened" to hear President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE laud the Confederate commander as "a great general" during a campaign rally Friday in Lebanon, Ohio.
“Last night I was disheartened to hear Donald Trump, our president, make comments about Robert E. Lee as a great general, as an honorable man. These were far from the true,” Robert Lee IV said in a video he posted on Twitter on Saturday.
Trump prompted immediate backlash during the rally after saying Lee was a "great general" and claiming that former President Lincoln had "developed a phobia" because "he couldn’t beat Robert E. Lee."
"He was going crazy. I don’t know if you know this story. But Robert E. Lee was winning battle after battle after battle. And Abraham Lincoln came home, he said, 'I can’t beat Robert E. Lee,' " Trump said.
Lee, who is reportedly the great-great-great-great-nephew of the Confederate commander, said Trump's remarks show "he supports an idol of white supremacy and of hatred.”
“Robert E. Lee fought for the continued enslavement of black bodies. It was for state’s rights, yes, but it was for state’s rights to own slaves," he said in the video.
“I found myself saddened by the state of our nation, but I’m encouraged. I’m encouraged because we are going to work to end this,” he added. “We are going to vote. We are going to show Donald Trump that white supremacy has no place in any parlors of our government.”
Lee has spoken out against his ancestor before.
During the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, he captured media attention after he called the confederate general “an idol of white supremacy, racism, and hate.” He said it was his “moral duty to speak out against racism, America’s original sin.”
Trump has drawn criticism for his defense of Confederate statues, including memorials of Robert E. Lee. He sparked widespread backlash last year following a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., saying that white nationalist protesters were there to oppose the removal of a "very, very important" statue.