Colbert to Kelly: What do you think caused World War II, a zoning issue?

Stephen Colbert mocked John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE for the White House chief of staff's claim that "the lack of an ability to compromise" led to the Civil War.

“What do you mean, there was a lack of compromise? The Civil War happened because of compromise: the Missouri Compromise, the Three-Fifths Compromise," Colbert said during his late-night show.

"You’re a general and you don’t know why the Civil War happened? What do you think caused World War II, a zoning issue? ‘I vant to build a strip mall in the Sudetenlands! Maybe some mixed-use housing in Poland. What’s so wrong with zat?’” 

Kelly made the comments during a Fox News interview Monday night.


“There are certain things in history that were good, and other things that were not so good,” Kelly said.

“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."

The White House on Tuesday defended Kelly's comments, saying many historians would agree with the chief of staff.

"I do know that many historians, including Shelby Foote in Ken Burns's famous Civil War documentary, agreed that a failure to compromise was a cause of the Civil War," press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during the press briefing.

"There are a lot of historians that think that and there a lot of different versions of those compromises. I’m not going to get up here and relitigate the Civil War, but there’s certainly, I think some historical documentation that many people … believe that if some of the individuals engaged had been willing to come to some compromises on different things then it may not have occurred."