(Washington Free Beacon) Former Obama administration official Jeh Johnson said the removal of Confederate statues was a matter of “public safety and homeland security” on Sunday.

In the aftermath of deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., when a man with white nationalist ties was arrested for ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters last week and killing a woman, Confederate monuments across the country have been taken down. The furor in Charlottesville began with a protest by white supremacists against the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

Johnson served as Secretary of Homeland Security under Obama, and he said on ABC’s “This Week” that the monuments to Confederates were helping to rally white nationalists.

“What alarms so many of us from a security perspective is that so many of the statues, the Confederate monuments, are now, modern-day, becoming symbols and rallying points for white nationalism, for neo-Nazis, for the KKK, and this is most alarming,” Johnson said. “We fought a world war against Naziism. The KKK reigned terror on African Americans for generations.”

“I salute those in cities and states who are taking down a lot of these monuments for reasons of public safety and security,” he added. “And that’s not a a matter of political correctness. That’s a matter of public safety and homeland security and doing what’s right…”

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