Aug 15, 2017

Trump compares Washington, Jefferson to Robert E. Lee

President Trump equivocated George Washington and Thomas Jefferson with Confederate leaders like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson due to the former presidents' slave ownership.

Worth noting: Right-wing pundit Laura Ingraham appeared on Fox & Friends — one of the staples of Trump's media diet — this morning, making a similar point by wondering when "the Communist Party of the United States" might march on Washington and Jefferson's homes at Mount Vernon and Monticello.

Trump this afternoon, part 1: "And you take a look at some of the groups and you see -- and you'd know it if you were honest reporters, which in many cases you're not, but many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week it's Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson's coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you all -- you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

Trump this afternoon, part 2: "George Washington was a slaveowner. Was George Washington a slaveowner? So will George Washington will now lose his status? Are we gonna take down — excuse me — are we gonna take down statues to George Washington? How about Thomas Jefferson? What do you think of Thomas Jefferson? You like him? Okay, good. Are we gonna take down the statue? Because he was a major slaveowner. Now are we gonna take down his statue? So you know what? It's fine. You're changing history, you're changing culture."

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Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

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New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.