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Politics Mnuchin defends Trump's stance on Confederate monuments: 'We need to have a balanced view of history'

19:07  02 july  2020
19:07  02 july  2020 Source:   businessinsider.com

Mourners in Atlanta line up in the rain to pay final respects to Rayshard Brooks

  Mourners in Atlanta line up in the rain to pay final respects to Rayshard Brooks Members of the public filed into Ebenezer Baptist Church — socially distant and masked — to say goodbye to Brooks, fatally shot by police in a Wendy's parking lot.People filtered through quietly, masked and socially distant, to pay homage to Brooks as he lay in his casket at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Rain fell on those who waited outside at about 3 p.m., just as the four-hour public viewing began. Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller, arrived in all white at the famed Atlanta church where Martin Luther King Jr. once served as pastor.

a close up of Steven Mnuchin wearing glasses and looking at the camera: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. President Donald Trump attend briefing about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. President Donald Trump attend briefing about the coronavirus outbreak in the press briefing room at the White House on March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken a stand against removing symbols or monuments to the Confederacy.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday defended the president in this regard.
  • "We need to have a balanced view of history," Mnuchin said.
  • As coronavirus continues to devastate communities across the US, and amid nationwide protests over racism and police brutality, Trump has focused heavily on the Confederate monument issue.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday stood behind President Donald Trump's defense of Confederate monuments, stating the US needed to have a "balanced view of history."

When the Toppled Statue Is of Your Great-Great-Great-Grandfather

  When the Toppled Statue Is of Your Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Clayton Wickham, 28, said he used to think of the statue of his great-great-great-grandfather as “just a statue that had my name on it that was kind of cool to walk by every now and then.” But as Mr. Wickham learned more about his ancestor, the statue became a source of discomfort, and then of shame. And so when protesters in Richmond, Va., recently tore down the bronze statue of Williams Carter Wickham, a Confederate general and plantation owner, Mr. Wickham was glad to see it fall.Not all the Wickhams were happy. But, like for Robert E. Lee IV, a great-great-great-great-nephew of the Confederate general, and Frank Rizzo Jr.

Amid a nationwide discussion over racism and police brutality, which has prompted mass protests, there have been growing calls for Confederate monuments across the country to be taken down and for US military bases named after Confederate generals to be renamed.

Trump has taken an outspoken stance against this as he simultaneously continues to condemn the Black Lives Matter movement. The president recently threatened to veto an annual defense bill if it includes a provision to rename military installations named for Confederate leaders. He also in late June signed an executive order on protecting monuments.

Meanwhile, with his reelection prospects looking dimmer by the day, Trump has increasingly employed the rhetoric of white supremacists in an effort to rile up his base and increase divisions in the US. On Sunday, Trump was widely criticized after retweeting a video in which a supporter yelled "white power." Hours later, Trump finally deleted the tweet.

'Medgar's wings must be clapping': With Mississippi flag vote, Myrlie Evers hopes America can come together

  'Medgar's wings must be clapping': With Mississippi flag vote, Myrlie Evers hopes America can come together Myrlie Evers, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, said she wept as Mississippi lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate flag emblem.“I can’t believe it. I am so emotional,” the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers said. “Medgar’s wings must be clapping.

In this context, Mnuchin on Thursday was asked by Liz Goodwin of the Boston Globe if Trump is truly focused on combatting the coronavirus pandemic, or if he's more concerned with upholding symbols of the Confederacy.

Mnuchin in response said that Trump is "focused on everything," describing Confederate monument issue as "complicated."

"We need to have a balanced view of history," Mnuchin said.

When asked if Trump would apologize for the "white power" tweet, which he ultimately deleted, Mnuchin said, "We're here to talk about economics."

Most Americans support removing Confederate monuments

The Confederacy was a traitorous army that fought a war to perpetuate slavery in the US. It was the bloodiest conflict in US history — it's estimated as many as 750,000 were killed.

Anti-racism groups in Paris call out colonizer street names

  Anti-racism groups in Paris call out colonizer street names PARIS (AP) — Paris police blocked anti-racism groups from leading a “de-colonial tour” of Paris on Sunday to call attention to monuments and streets honoring historical figures tied to the slave trade or colonial-era abuses. Instead, the protesters marched around a monument in front of the French capital’s Museum of Immigration, waving signs with proposed new street names and symbolically “renaming” them with each circle. A Paris police officialInstead, the protesters marched around a monument in front of the French capital’s Museum of Immigration, waving signs with proposed new street names and symbolically “renaming” them with each circle.

Many of the Confederate monuments in the US were not built until well into the Jim Crow era, years after the Civil War ended. Many historians have said that the monuments were built as white supremacist propaganda, and meant to send a message to Black Americans pushing for desegregation and civil rights.

"Most of the people who were involved in erecting the monuments were not necessarily erecting a monument to the past. But were rather, erecting them toward a white supremacist future," Jane Dailey, an associate professor of history at the University of Chicago, told NPR in 2017.

A majority of US voters (52%) support removing Confederate statues from public spaces around the country, according to a June Quinnipiac University poll. Protesters have torn down Confederate statues in recent weeks. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, on Tuesday signed a bill to remove the Confederate battle emblem the state's flag. The Democratic mayor of Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy, on Wednesday ordered the "immediate removal" of all Confederate monuments on city property.

Overnight Defense: DOD reportedly eyeing Confederate flag ban | House military spending bill blocks wall funding

  Overnight Defense: DOD reportedly eyeing Confederate flag ban | House military spending bill blocks wall funding Happy Monday and welcome to Overnight Defense. I'm Ellen Mitchell, and here's your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. CLICK HERE to subscribe to the newsletter.THE TOPLINE: The Pentagon is working on a policy that would ban the display of Confederate flags at military bases, according to multiple reports on Monday.The draft policy, if put into effect, would ban the flag's display in DepartmentTHE TOPLINE: The Pentagon is working on a policy that would ban the display of Confederate flags at military bases, according to multiple reports on Monday.

In short, Trump is swimming against the current of history by defending symbols of the Confederacy.

Trump paints a rosy picture of the economy, even though America is still in crisis

Mnuchin's comments on Thursday came during a press conference in which the president sought to put a positive spin on the dismal state of the US economy, which is forecasted to get worse in the coming weeks and months as coronavirus cases spike in the US.

The US economy added a record 4.8 million jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to 11.1%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday. The unemployment rate, however, is still higher than at any point during the Great Recession and the US economy is still down almost 14.7 million jobs since February.

The economy got a boost from states easing coronavirus restrictions, but cases of the virus are also surging at an alarming rate, prompting governors and mayors to re-institute various precautionary measures. Despite Trump's rosy depiction of the US economy, there's still a great deal of uncertainty in this arena as coronavirus continues to reek havoc across the country.

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Georgia activists renew calls to remove 'granddaddy of Confederate monuments' .
Georgia activists seek to remove 'Stone Mountain', the "granddaddy of Confederate monuments." The fight over the monument, which is located in Dekalb County, Georgia and prior to COVID-19's spread could get more than 4 million visitors in a year, is unfolding as the U.S. grapples with civil unrest following the recent Black Lives Matter protests. Cities across America are being forced to reckon with a dark history and are facing growing pressure to confront the racist past of confederate leaders honored in monuments across the country.

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