Kelly defends Confederate statues: 'History's history'

Kelly defends Confederate statues: 'History's history'
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White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE says it is a mistake to pull down Confederate-tied symbols and scrub markers of historical importance, arguing that it is a "dangerous" practice to retroactively project current attitudes onto past events.

In an interview Monday night on Fox News, Kelly said "history's history" after being  asked by host Laura Ingraham what he thought about removing the plaques memorializing both George Washington and Robert E. Lee at a church in Alexandria, Va., in order to be more inclusive in the community. 

"I think we make a mistake, though, and as a society and certainly as, as individuals, when we take what is today accepted as right and wrong and go back 100, 200, 300 years or more and say ... 'what Christopher Columbus did was wrong,'" Kelly said on the premiere of Fox News's "The Ingraham Angle."

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"You know, 500 years later, it’s inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then," he continued.

The retired general said it is "dangerous" to scrub away the nation's imperfect marks, saying the moral values of the day may be judged differently by future generations.

"There are certain things in history that were not so good and other things that were very, very good," he said.

"I mean, human history, our culture, is an evolving thing. There will be 100 or 200 years from now people that criticize us for what we do and I guess they’ll tear down, you know, statues of people that we revere today," Kelly said.

The top White House aide said the push to remove these statues shows "a lack of appreciation of history and what history is."

The fiery debate on removing the monuments that are connected to darker historical periods has taken place across the U.S., with protests erupting over the decision to remove or keep such symbols. 

Supporters of removing the statues argue that such statues are visual reminders in the community and keeping them sends a message to certain members that they aren't welcome, and that the statues no longer represent the values of the area where they are located.