RFK Jr. says he opposes removing Confederate statues

In a recent interview, Kennedy said he had a “visceral reaction” to the removal of monuments and statues honoring Confederate leaders.

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. criticized the removal of Confederate statues in a recent interview, arguing that the people they honor may have had “other qualities.”

Speaking Friday on the “Timcast IRL” podcast, Kennedy described a “visceral reaction to this destroying history.”

“I don’t like it,” he told conservative podcaster Tim Pool. “I think we should celebrate who we are. And that, you know, we should celebrate the good qualities of everybody.”

Kennedy also pointed to “heroes in the Confederacy who didn’t have slaves,” but he later praised Robert E. Lee, a slave owner, suggesting Lee, the top Confederate general, demonstrated “extraordinary qualities of leadership” that warranted recognition.

“We need to be able to be sophisticated enough to live with, you know, our ancestors who didn’t agree with us on everything and who did things that are now regarded as immoral or wrong, because they, you know, maybe they had other qualities,” Kennedy said.

A Kennedy campaign spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

While he was in office, former President Donald Trump opposed removing Confederate statues and monuments, calling their removal “foolish.” In 2020, Trump also opposed an effort to rename Army bases that honored Confederate generals.

President Joe Biden, meanwhile, supported the renaming effort, saying in a statement at the time that the “names affixed to our military installations must honor the diverse heritage of leadership and sacrifice in our country’s history.”

Kennedy’s candidacy is seen as more of a threat to Trump’s campaign than Biden’s re-election bid, according to an NBC News poll conducted last month.

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